from me: we got news of our confinement ‘easing’ beginning on May 11th. groups of 10 allowed, parks-reopened (!), can go up to 100km from home without paperwork, can run day and night. kids back to school in groups of 10. shops reopened with social distancing in place. no concerts, theatres, restaurants until june 2nd at the earliest (before they were saying mid-july). i can tell that already they’re not checking our paperwork anymore, and while the duck pond is ‘closed’ there’s no one enforcing it. i’ll be there on may 11th, that’s for sure. hope i didn’t miss all of the lilacs. i feel ok about the easing as of today. we’ve had lower ICU numbers every single day since our high of april 7 (22 days). by the time we reopen it’ll be 35+ days of downward numbers.
we also had our first shipment of art supplies come by mail, and mr.belle got 6 blank canvases (with plans for 4 ‘mountain’ paintings and & 2 ‘lake to sky’ paintings). the second mountain painting is at the bottom of this post.
and yesterday i made praline (nuts and caramel that you then pulverize into a chunky powder). the first time failed miserably, the sugar gathered in large crystallized clumps, all the good nuts straight into the garbage. the second batch was lovely, with dark brown runny caramel and bright green pistachios.
i tried different …
from me: sometimes when someone is having a hard time getting going after a relapse, i’ll suggest an ‘intervention’ of sorts, with a couple of calls a week, and audios and homework, until they get rolling. I got this email from EMW a few days ago:
EMW (day 8): “Well I can’t believe it. I added tools and did them whether I wanted to or not, and here I am on day 8. I have a 1 pm AA phone mtg scheduled today, 5 podcasts to listen to, and I’ll email you 4 times. And I have Jason Vale’s book which I love to read for motivation as well. I will email you later and hope you have a great day!…”
me: well you know, I think we need to put this on a poster 🙂 I did the things, whether I wanted to or not, and now I’m on day 8 🙂 this is lovely! hoo-fucking-ray for YOU.
[and now she’s on day 11 today]
we received some blank canvases in a special delivery on Saturday. only a few though! so mr.belle went right back to work and made this one on monday and it was dry enough on tuesday to add the word when he came down for his lunch break (roast beef and salad from the take-out deli across the street, our first take-out meal in 7 weeks)…]
Here 10. mountain painting
canvas itself is 30 x 30 cm (12″ x 12″)
acrylic on wrapped canvas, varnished, edges of the canvas are painted black
Wood frame is African ayous (hardwood), pale straw colour.
Free shipping included.
Available with or without frame
link here > www.artsober.com
This painting is dry and ready to ship. You’ll get an email when your painting is in the mail.
hugs from me & him
here’s how the original story unfolded:
me to him: “what are you doing upstairs in that studio?”
“just experimenting with things.”
“what sort of things?”
he shows me the painting below. “wowie,” i say. “this is something new. you travel over the mountains. there are more mountains coming, perhaps. you have stay here. stay in the now. do today. The way you get ‘there’ is to do here. The changes start from here. From today.”
he smiles, and says “ok, but what word do you want then?”
“no, just ‘here’ – and it should be in lowercase. and kind of pale, to blend in a little with the background.”
and so we have this new mountain painting with ‘here’ on it 🙂
it’s like one of those maps in the park?
You are HERE.
and what you do from here forward changes everything.
from my inbox:
Lars (day 297): “Much like quitting drinking, I can’t look at the entire future [to do with changing jobs], I have to just do it one day at a time. Yes to external motivation! I tend to get lost with my own goals, but I am trying to be more organized in this sense. I like to think of it as if I’m creating a school for myself, and each day I need to spend x amount of time doing x,y,z. Of course there are off days, but getting into the habit of spending x amount of time each day learning, working, or being inspired seems paramount. My goal is to be out of job #1 within a year. There, external motivation! I’ve said this before, though, much like quitting drinking. 😉 I do think that goal of a year is possible, especially if I stick to my goal of doing shit 5 out of 7 days a week. I CAN DO THIS!!! And I get so excited thinking about all the doors that will open once I decide to take a chance on myself.”
me: yes, there is no future (!) 🙂 there is just today. stay here. there are just the actions we take today. if your goal is to be out in a year, then what 15 minute progress can you make towards that today? then you do it again tomorrow. not hours and hours a day, but bits. and sometimes you’ll feel inspired and do more, and if you just do 15 minutes that’s enough. keep incrementally advancing towards the thing.
Lars: “Thank you, Belle. I’m saving this. Going to scribble it down. Read it. Remember it. It’s lumped into the Shit Belle Says, and it’s so true and yet so easily forgotten.” [update: she’s on day 472 today]
J: “Hi! Love you and our story shares but I’d like to receive an email only about 1-2x per week and right now I’m receiving two per day or so I didn’t want to hit unsubscribe because that is entirely what I want. I was hoping when it said *email preferences* that it would give me the option to chose; hence I chose to write you instead. thank you again.”
me: hi there, the only thing I can suggest is that you just delete every second message. Without reading it. I have some subscribers who press refresh waiting for new messages. I generally limit to two emails a day, but in times when things are stressful like now, it could be more. If it’s not for you, I’d just delete some of the messages. Of course then you might miss a lovely bit of support 🙂 hugs from me
me: it is separate, but you don’t have to buy it – you can read it all online if you’d prefer. it just might be easier in one file but certainly not required.
P: “OMG. You really are a human at the other end! Despite following your correspondence in minutiae for weeks, I’d somehow in the depths of my mind wondered if you, a real flesh and blood human, would write to me! I’m sort of over the moon. Electrically generated? Using a standard response and putting name at top to personalize it? These are some of my dark cynical thoughts. I’ve never done anything like this — reaching out to a support online. I’m trying anything new, and guess what, it’s working. I’m sooooo far out if my comfort zone (I’m a medical doctor used to telling everyone else what’s right and wrong, what the evidence shows blah blah. Big hypocrite).
Can you imagine running a drug and alcohol unit, dressed in your little nighty expensive suit, walking around writing drug charts, counseling and “knowing it all”, when knowing … that you’re messed up and out of control — not on the outside — that was as clear as day going to come one day, but the feeling of being a big fat phony and using my intellectualization as a big excuse. I’ve known that having degrees and money and fancy cars and beach houses doesn’t protect you — makes it easier to hide, but it does and will catch up. I’m nowhere near ready to tell my story. I couldn’t even put it into a journal and then burn.
But, Belle, whoever you are, this thing you’ve given birth to is the first time in 20 years that I see light and hope and freedom. I’ve had the best 8 weeks that I can recall since stumbling on The Bubble Hour and then to you. We are a similar age. Your words ring true and hit the notes that resonate. I get it. Thanks. I’m rambling and writing as getting the teenagers off to school.”
[update: she’s on day 1344 today]
What’s happening in the news doesn’t change what I have to do today, which is: be safe, protect my family, protect myself, protect my mental health, be sober, stay calm.
Because really, no matter what’s happening, running away with anxiety feelings won’t serve me. And it certainly won’t make me better able to do my job.
There are a lot of people in this economic world, right this minute, who aren’t working (aren’t able to work, teachers who’ve been sent home, restaurant workers who’ve been sent home, FedEx delivery people who’ve been sent home, all the staff at the Gap is on furlough) …
But a smaller percentage of us are working through this time, including while trying to homeschool kids (like still doing a 10 hr day where you’re in charge of staff, making decisions about who’s being laid off and who’s being furloughed, in addition to homeschooling your 7-year-old).
I have many healthcare workers in my inbox, who work on the front-line, and are going to work every day. I have nurses, I have a radiology tech who is continuing to read scans. I have a guy who does financial planning and is assisting companies as they decide what aspects of their businesses to shut down, I think he’s doing that with 10 companies at the same time when normally maybe only one company a year might have a crisis. (I think he said he had 16 out of 20 companies that were in crisis.) So he’s working 14 hr days.
I’m also working between 4 and 10 hrs, depending on the day. Certainly in the very beginning (3 weeks ago), that my energy was so unpredictable. I was fine, then I was exhausted, then I was sleeping a lot, and then I was fine, and then I was exhausted, and then I was sleeping a lot…
[we do what we need to do. those of us who are working now have different strategies perhaps. one of mine is ‘no news’ … if you’re working full-time this week, what is one of your ‘keep your head attached’ strategies?]
This text above was typed out by me, based on the april 1st facebook live update from the duck pond. if you’d like to watch this video, you can go here. you don’t need to log in to facebook or ‘like’ the video to watch it.]
this is a close-up of painting “Day After Day 2”
link here > www.artsober.com