The Soulful Artist

Life. Art. Transcendence.

Day 9 of 28 Days of Love!

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to maintain me. Aside from yearly medical maintenance (physical, labs, mammo, etc.), and dental maintenance every 6 months … I beat my body up pretty good with rigorous workouts and working 12 hour shifts, so there’s monthly maintenance.

Enter my most amazing team: Shawna Muscle Mobility Body Worker (aka masseuse), and Dr. Shapiro, my Chiropractor. Those two have their work cut out for them! But it’s important to me to maintain my spinal health and alignment and to maintain my muscles so I will gladly go every month, and even more when necessary. I have a standing date every month to have an adjustment and to get a massage.

I don’t believe that people understand the importance of maintaining your body in general. I also know that people don’t take care of themselves as they should. You only get one chance at this being human thing, at this life. We should be doing all that we can to maintain ourselves. Yearly physicals, dental check-ups every 6 months, physical therapy especially for athletes, chiropractic care, massages, mental health care, wholistic medicine. ALL of it.

Maintaining your body is a form of self-care. Self-care is NOT selfish! Self-care is a necessity and it’s a must. You cannot fill from an empty cup. There’s NO shame in caring for yourself.

Anyhow, today’s painting has the triskelion- the symbol of past/present/future; creation/preservation/destruction;father/son/holy spiritual. And today’s love shoutout goes to Shawna and Dr. Shapiro. They’re my favorites!

Day 8 of 28 Days Of Love.

There’s a lot of research out there that detail how many hours an average person will spend working. I don’t know what the statistics are, I do know it’s a lot. I think it’s something like 1/3 or 33% of your life. That’s a lot – A LOT – of hours if you add them up.

I’m fortunate to be in a profession that I love, one that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be in since I was 8 years old, and one where there’s “variety” and very little boredom. I’m also fortunate to work with a group of individuals who make work better, good, tolerable. I could not imagine working in a profession that I abhorred and felt stuck in. It’s true when they say that when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like “work.”

I love my co-workers. I am fortunate to have made many amazing an beautiful friendships over my 30 year career. I cannot adequately express the love and gratitude that I have for them, they’re just gonna have to trust me on this one. I won’t be able to tag or post photos of all of them either. Just know that I’m thankful and full of love and gratitude for all of you.

My advice to all of you: If you work, make sure you’re doing something that you love, and that you’re working with people who make you better, people who you can call friends. Especially in nursing … Nurses spend more than half of their waking hours at work (if you work 12s). We have to be able to trust and count on each other because there’s NO way that we’d be able to do it alone.

To my work friends and family, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all dearly!

Day 6 of 28 Days of Love.

Life is messy, imperfect, crazy. Sometimes, you’re in the thick of it and you think you’ve fucked it up and you just want to trash it all, start over, reset.

Then someone gives you a fresh perspective on the situation, on life. There’s always a bigger picture, a different POV, something you haven’t seen.

We all need people like this in our lives. People who can hold space for us and accept us for who we are. People who will remind you of your goodness and tell you that you’re okay, that you matter.

Friendship is a funny thing. You seek out a person, or they seek you out, you think they look “safe,” and you say “Let’s be friends.” This is what happened with my unlikely friend, Linda. She literally cornered me when I wasn’t expecting it, and there was NO escape. She picked me. I wasn’t looking for anything, I was just over there minding my own business, and she ambushed me. I still remember the day.

That was over 20+ years ago now, and to say that she grew on me is an understatement. I call her my unlikely friend because she was so unexpected, someone I didn’t know I needed in my life.

To say I love her doesn’t cover it. She has been my rock, my person, my go-to. She has pointed out my good and held me up when I’ve wanted to crumble. Like my painting that I think is scrap material, she points out my worth, my good, strong parts. She offers me a different perspective and POV. I am so thankful for my unlikely person.

And as for my little watercolor … I’ll let it sit for a while. Eventually, I’ll pick it up and paint over it and give it a fresh perspective. For now I’ll send it love and keep practicing self-kindness and extend myself the grace that I am worthy of.

Day 7 of 28 Days Of Love.

We often don’t think of all the little things that people do for us as “love.” We think of big things, romantic things, but the little things often times get over looked. Things like the way your daughter knows your coffee order. How your best friend will send you a random text to remind you of something funny. How the cashier at the store asked you about your bracelet and commented on it. How your husband warms up your car and cleans off the windows when it’s cold outside. How your co-workers answers a call light for you when you’re busy with another patient. Little things.

Every morning I start my day with my morning pages and my gratitude list. It’s a spiritual practice that I have been doing for years now. It’s important for me to remember the things I am thankful for and to give gratitude. When you give your thanks and gratitude, you get more things to be thankful and grateful for.

Little things … when added up become BIG things. Nothing is ever wasted when done with love.

Day 5 of 28 Days of Love.

My girl doesn’t ask me for much. Simple things like an emotional support French Bull Dog that she has already named “Calliope” for her birthday, and to make a Valentine for her BFF, Angel.

I haven’t made good on the French Bully YET, but the time to make the Valentine, easy.

My Grace has had her fair share of life’s challenges and she has faced all of them with strength and determination and grace. Having a child with “Special Abilities” is challenging. It’s heartbreaking and rewarding at the same time. It’s like being on a freakin’ rollercoaster! But as challenging as it is for her dad and I, it’s my girl who’s teaching me life lessons … patience, resilience, love.

Presence … an hour to make a simple Valentine. A simple request. We made it out of red stamps, a little glue, and a lot of love. The real reward … the pride she felt, the smile on her face. That’s all I need. And my presence is what she needed from me. (Sigh.)

And now off in search of Calliope her emotional support French Bully …

Happy Weekend, Everyone! Remember to be present with those that you love.

Day 4 of 28 Days Of Love.

You’ve heard the question. Asked, “When you are asked to name the things that you love, how long would it take to name yourself?”

For a LONG time, I know I didn’t name myself. I don’t even believe that I even thought to name myself. I would name my husband, all my children, my friends, the foods I loved, the people I worked out with, the name of my dojo, the workouts I loved … on and on and on, but no Row. 😢

How could I say I loved everyone and everything when I couldn’t even say that I loved myself? It seems hypocritical, right? To have a critical and dysfunctional relationship with your own self, and to put yourself last on the totem pole, claiming and professing love for all others except yourself.

The relationship that I had with myself was so horribly mean. I am far more harder and more critical of my own self, and I didn’t give myself any slack, but I could forgive others so quickly and cut them slack without giving a second thought.

Until my Spiritual Guide pointed it out to me in a session. Much of the pain I was harboring was the surrounded around the hatred and criticism I had for myself. It was necessary for me to forgive myself for not knowing better and to give myself permission to be happy and live my life. Slowly, with time healing came.

My advice to others … live YOUR life on your terms. Forgive yourself. And love everything about yourself. Set the example of self-love for your children. There’s nothing harder than breaking bad habits.

I give you the Holstee Manifesto. It’s an amazing manifesto to live by. No excuses. Only love. Love yourself enough to put yourself first, to be honest with yourself, to put yourself out there. There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than that!

Day 3 of 28 Days Of Love! ♥️

Some days you’re just over here minding your own business, doing your thang, staying out of trouble, and trying to keep to yourself … and some days you find yourself wondering what the heck just hit you?!?

I’m pretty sure that’s what my BFF Joan was thinking on that very first day of 8th grade as she was minding her own business and I plopped myself down in the seat in front of her and started jabbering away! There was an instant attraction to her, as if I already knew her somehow.

Over the YEARS, we have been apart more than we’ve been together, but my love for my Soul’s Twin has remained constant. She has been my BFF, my confidant, shown me grace, and loved me throughout. We’ve been through thick and thin, from the days of letter writing, and rotary phones, to now. When we get together it’s as if no time has passed and I still love her more than words. She seriously did not know what hit her when I sat down in that chair in front of her, but her friendship has meant more to me than I could’ve ever imagined.

Kind of like my little heart creations. It was such a simple idea that hit me, and what came of them is so much better than anything I could’ve imagined! They’re so cute and so much fun, and just love them! I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun creating anything.

For you, Joan … thank you for loving me and for being my friend. It’s crazy how me taking the chance to sit in front of you would lead to a friendship that has spanned years! I love you much!

Day 2 of 28 Days Of Love.

I won’t lie, Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. Yea, I know, but I’m a Libra and I’m a sucker for being in love, and I love hearts ♥️💜💙💛, love notes, and professions of love. It’s my favorite because I can give love without feeling awkward and without others getting weirded out.

When I was little, I loved filling out Valentine’s cards for my classmates and delivering them, and I loved getting them in my Valentine’s box.

I spent today cutting out little hearts from “scrap” paintings and it brought back a little nostalgia. I was in first grade when I remember learning about Valentine’s Day. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Corpus, explaining it to us and how excited I got.

I cut out hundreds of little hearts today. They say our bodies carry memories, and I believe that the muscle memory of cutting out all those little hearts is what brought back the memory of my beloved teacher, Mrs. Isabel Corpus. She was such positive force in my life. I remember she stood up for me, she told me I was smart, and that I could do anything. She was always telling my mom what a good student I was. She made me want to always do better and to love harder.

She’s probably long gone by now, but I never forgot her and her love and kindness towards me. I hope she is resting in love! Thank you, Mrs. Corpus of Woodstock Elementary School, Alameda, CA.

Day 1 of 28 of my 28 Days of Love!

As I was practicing with watercolor, I had an hit to paint my hand. In the process of painting, my paper started to curl up and coincidentally my ear started to ring … and then I heard it … The deep, throaty, belly laughing and it triggered the memory of a conversation that my BFF MQ and I had many years ago, during a crazy night shift

For those not in the know, MQ (Michael Q.) was not only my mentor, he was my work brother (I joked that he was my work dad, but I was too old – lol), my confidant, my friend. He is the the ONLY reason I became an Emergency Room Nurse. If not for him I don’t know where I’d be in the world of nursing.

The reason why I bring up my friend is because I remember he was laughing so hard he almost fell out of the chair. He said, in his deep Michael voice while laughing uncontrollably, “You know how you know you’re getting old? When you wash your hands and you go to dry them under the air dryer and your skin starts moving and shaking all over the place!” (Insert more laughing.)

It was the curling up of my watercolor paper that brought up the memory of my friend. I miss everything about him, and I’d give anything to make more memories with him. But the memories I have are all amazing and beautiful and funny!

Cherish the people you love, for tomorrow isn’t promised. (Insert sigh.)

My “challenge” for February is 28 Days of Love. I know, cheesy since it’s the month of love, Valentine’s month. It’s my favorite month. The challenge is to create or paint every day, and to write about the people, places, & things I love. 28 days. Sounds easy enough, right? Aye, these “challenges” are gonna be the growth of me! (See what I did there?!)

Soar Higher!

Day 31 of My 30 Days Of Creativity Challenge.

Bonus Day!!!

My journey to become an artist was not a linear one. My attempts as a child to discover what I liked and what called to me where thwarted by one who felt I possessed no talent in art whatsoever. So even before I could get started, I had already failed.

In life there will always be someone that will always find something about what you’re doing to be “wrong.” They’ll always have something to say, and maybe even try to talk you out of it. Listen to me when I tell you that it took me a very LONG time to learn that this had absolutely NOTHING – not a damn thing – to do with me, and everything to do with whoever it is who is trying to sabotage you.

There are those who will tell you that what you’re doing is not possible, that you’re too old, or that what you’ve created isn’t any good. Some will act well meaning, attempting to give you “sound advice.” They believe it can’t be done because they themselves are not attempting it, nor will they even ever try. It’s beyond their wildest dreams.

It’s not their dream, it’s yours. Love your life. March to the beat of your own drum. Paint to your own heart’s content. Love yourself enough to try. I was 46 when I even dared to pick up a paintbrush again, and it was the BEST thing I ever did for myself! The joy that I have found by doing that has taken me farther than I ever dared to ever dream in my artistic endeavors. I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished in this short period of time. I have stepped into and embody who I am, and I allow the fullest version of me to show up all the time.

To the naysayers I say keep your thoughts to your own self. Never discount the efforts that one takes to improve themselves or to discover themselves. Be an encourager. Help to elevate others, and be happy for their successes and accomplishments.

Impossible read differently reads “I’m possible.” And the possibilities are endless. Shine your light. Spread your wings. Go do your thing!