I’m coming out of my shell! (And it’s a little scary)

The other night I read my daughter a book that mentioned how lobsters hide under rocks while molting a new shell.

First of all: lobsters molt?! I I’m am showing my ignorance of the crustacean family here but I had no idea. Also, gross.

Maine-ly I wanted an excuse to use this adorable Lobstah gif

Second: friends, I think I might be a LOBSTER!

Let’s review the facts, shall we?

  1. Sarah has been on a long-ass journey of releasing, healing, transmuting, discarding . . .one could say that she has molted more than a few shells.
  2. She kept herself under a rock while molting because nobody wants to see a naked lobster!
  3. She discovered one day that it seemed like there was nothing left to molt. Yep, done molting.
  4. She realized that if she was done molting, maybe this meant she could come out from under the rock!
  5. She then cried in the parking lot of a Publix grocery store when she realized that it is VERY SCARY TO SCURRY OUT FROM UNDER YOUR ROCK WITH A STILL-SOMEWHAT-SQUISHY SHELL. (Long story. Everything is ok. Sometimes you just gotta cry it out on the grocery run.)

I was going to draw a picture of myself as a lobster because everyone loves a visual, but I realized that I don’t have time to do that. But I DO have a lovely drawing of a ghost crab. I met him last summer in Cocoa Beach. Isn’t he just the cutest?

My little ghost crabs. They look a little freaked out don’t they! I drew these last summer. 😀

So, for the purposes of this blog post, I am metaphorically speaking a lobster GHOST CRAB. (Which I googled – and they do molt – so it works.)
HERE I GO! It’s a little scary. My shell is still a little squishy. But no more hiding under a rock!! It’s time!

P.S. Do you think crabs are cute or totally gross? I vote cute! Cuter than lobsters for sure. By the way, do NOT google “lobsters molting” unless you want nightmares.

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Poking my head out to say hello!

It seems I’ve been HIDING IN MY SHELL. For like, a while. Months and months! It was necessary, this journey inward and focused on dealing with some life situations, but time to renter the world already!

So here I am, poking my head out, tentatively at first but pretty soon I’ll be back in the swing of things just like old times, me and WordPress doing our thing. For now, imagine me waving hello! What you been up to? Ready to take on March? Stick your head out of your shell too? I think good things are in store!

Adorable turtle model is courtesy of The Everglades Wonder Gardens @theevergladeswondergardens where your’s truly took the photo. This little dude’s probably more of a metaphor for someone trying to bust loose from fences (internal? External?) but he’s just so gosh darn cute I had to include him.

Bye for now! But see ya soon! (PROMISE!) .


(Pssttt! Do you like following things more on Instagram than on wordpress? Keep up with my posts in Instagram at @followthejoy!) #justfollowthejoy

Courage, dear heart

I feel like a butterfly that is figuring out how the heck to get untangled from its cocoon. It’s been such a long journey to get here. It can’t be rushed and yet I have an urgency or is it impatience? Or fear that maybe it won’t really happen? Regardless, I needed to create bravery where none existed.

I needed Courage, dear heart.

Art my own; joyfulhummingbirdart.etsy.com

Sending virtual courage to anyone who needs it right now. We got this!

It’s probably not completely doomed!

“It is probably not completely fucked and doomed. At worst, it’s only slightly fucked and doomed.”  Mantra by *Sam Lamott (@samlamott) (*Offspring of one of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott!)

Is it me, or does the world feel a little bit chaotic lately? Pretty sure that this week we moved up a notch from You Gotta be Kidding Me to This is Getting Pretty Bonkers.

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Chaos galore. We’ve got hurricanes!! 3,000 dead people miraculously coming back to life from said hurricanes!! Taking money from the people who help during hurricanes so we can detain more children! (Although…if we can bring the dead back to life, maybe we don’t need FEMA??)

It’s all got me thinking: What do we do with chaos? That is, other than respond with fear. (Or booking a one-way flight directly to Justin-Trudeau-land.) 

All I know is that I have a predictable pattern I use when the latest crazy drops from the heavens and into my news feed.  And–because you’ll notice one of the below steps is writing (HA!)–I’m gonna write about it and share with you

Let’s call it, Sarah’s Seven Steps™ to Responding to the Chaos: (fictional trademark and everything.)

  1. Denial. Muttering over and over How is this HAPPENING? This can’t be happening! 
  2. ALL-CAPS STAGE. (AKA seeking validation from those who see it the way you do.) Post to facebook with crazy emoji faces that basically scream “OMG GUYS DO YOU SEE  THIS IS?!” *Yes they do unless they don’t and in that case your article won’t make them “see” it.  (Not that I heed this advice, I do this ALL THE TIME. See the all caps??!)
  3. Fight or Flight.  Responding with, “I’ve gotta do something! There are kids in cages! “OR,“Nope nope nope. Can’t deal with the crazy today! Gonna binge watch Making-It.” 
  4. Grapple with existential angst. Chocolate helps. So does talking aloud to beagles. 
  5. Surrender. Sweet, sweet surrender. You know, facing the feelings under it all. Having a good cry about the children. Discovering that you feel a lot better after facing the feels.
  6. Magic! Transmuting/alchemizing the pain. (Which auto correct wants to change to “Schematizing” – sure that works too.)  You feel the feels, you eat the chocolate…now what? For me, I transmute the pain through art or writing. I take the pain and turn it into joy. It’s basically magic.
  7. Repeat.  Again and again and again. The world is at bonkers-level crazy after all. And maybe bit by bit…our creations of joy build a beautiful new world out of the chaos.

THAT’S ALL I GOT. (OH: and vote in the midterms. Do that too! Register to vote and/or request your vote-by-mail if you haven’t yet!)

What about you? How do you cope with the crazy? Did I miss any steps? What level comes next you think?

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Pursuing joy

At some point this past year I decided I wanted my life to be about pursuit of joy rather than reduction of suffering. And to paraphrase Frost, it has made all the difference.

For me it looks like embracing my inner artist. I was born an artist but along the way morphed, conformed, forgot. It’s all good. The journey back to myself has been so sweet! I’m leaping into fear, taking an undergrad art class with students who are literally half my age. Fear and joy! Fear and joy! Even the smell of art supplies makes my heart sing.

Are there any small ways you can increase joy? Share you victories below!! I’m so happy to give virtual high fives to you brave souls.

You can change how the story ends

Like many, I’ve been gutted by the horrific story of immigrant children being separated from their families and detained. I noticed something as I scrolled social media. Whether my friends are on the right or left, the story they tell seems to finish the same way. “This is happening and we can’t stop it.”  Those on the left, out of urgent fear, point to where we are headed (“Do you see the parallels to Nazi Germany??”)–(to be fair, often out of a desire to make others see the horror and hope to stop it. Unfortunately I think this has the unintended effect of paralyzing us.) Those on the right may justify where we are headed as being okay (“Other leaders did bad stuff to immigrants, too, so what gives!). But both tend to say the same thing: this (bad/good) thing is happening and the outcome is inevitable. You do not have the power to change it.

Oh but yes you do.

When we witness horror, despair, injustice–unthinkable atrocities like children being separated from their families and detained–our heart wants to shut down. It is too much. I can’t do this. This can’t be happening. Or, serves them right, they broke the law, send them back home. I never said life was fair. Hearts shut down and fear/bitterness/anger takes hold.

This past week I was finding myself teetering between shutting down (“I’m going to ignore Facebook right now”) and also automatically writing the story’s ending. (“This is Nazi, Germany. This escalates from here. Next comes the [insert parade of horrors]”).

But then I realized that when my mind creates that ending, that is the ending we get. So I decided to choose a different endingThis story will end with love of millions raising voices and declaring, we demand ferocious, expansive love that protects, lifts, liberates, reunites and heals.  

I’ve decided that I’m going to create my reality based on love. I’m going to make the bold declaration that my choice has ripples — the people around me can also choose to be emboldened by love and light and join me in making a different ending to the story.

If you want love, be love.

If you want peace, be peace.

If you want hope, be hope. 

Every breath in, every breath out, I can choose to listen to the fear or to the love. Right now, in this moment, and for the next moment and the moment after that, I’m choosing to side with love. I’m daring to dream a new ending to the story. I dare you to do the same.

 

 

Will you be the light?

The kids still need us. (“Order Does Nothing to Address Plight of 2,300 Children – Nytimes.com, 6/21/18.)

The good news: YOU CAN BE THE LIGHT.

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I also create art, and I made postcards from my art that I’m giving away for you can use to write elected officials/media/friends! AND if you get your kids involved, #Postcards4Families will donate $5 for every card sent!! AND you will be entered to win a free tote or signed art print from me!

Helping kids, spreading light–does Thursday get any better this?

BE THE LIGHT. It’s this easy:

  1. I also create art and I’ve created postcards from my art that I’m giving away for you to use to advocate to end the brutal treatment of immigrant children. Sign up here to request your five free postcards and to be entered to win a free tote or print!

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    You could win a tote! (And, it’s jumbo size for lots of bread and flowers! oooo!)
  2. Get your kids involved and #postcards4families will donate $5 to every postcard mailed! Tag your photo of your postcard that you are mailing for with #postcards4families on social media. Visit #Postcards4families on facebook. Keep up with my posts on Facebook as well.
  3. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Tag your posts with #bethelight to spread the word about the campaign.

The kids still need us. Let’s get them reunited with their families, lets abolish ICE, let’s treat asylum seekers and immigrants with dignity, respect, and dare I say love?

By raising your voice – you won’t feel quite so defeated, quite so overwhelmed, quite so small. You’ll be working in concert with many other souls who want to be the light to overcome this darkness. Doesn’t that feel good?


 

 

 

 

My postcards are here!

Yes, that’s right, I’ve begun penning my note to Marco Rubio. I’ve got lots to say.

What’s this all about you ask?

I make art and I decided I wanted to give it away AND help shine light on the horrific child separation policy. Here is my plan: I’ll send you five free cards in the mail in return that you use them to advocate to end the child separation policy. Send a note to an elected official, the media, friends, whomever. We will nudge each other to raise our voices and send disillusionment to the curb. AND if you are still on the fence about doing this–when you sign up you will be entered to win a tote bag or a print too!!! Because why not spread even more love?

It’s that easy!

Here’s the tote. Oooo! Ahhhh!

Here is the full print (pardon the shadowy picture, better picture to come soon):

You can sign up for your free postcards here. Whaddya say. Let’s shine some light into the darkness.

Will you Be the Light with me? (Free art in return for raising your voice!)

Last night I painted a hummingbird – a symbol of love and light. Painting is my way of spreading love and hope, and we could use a good dose of that right now.  

My hummingbird painting

I was inspired to paint because I couldn’t stop thinking about those kids. The kids screaming into the dark, the kids in cages. The kids being forcibly removed from their parents by my government.

The issue feels overwhelming and one person’s actions seem futile. But I don’t like feeling powerless. So I painted and thought, maybe there is a way I can share my art, spread some hope, and be a tiny drop in an ocean to make ripples to inspire others.

My idea: I take my art and make it into postcards, give sets of five cards away to people who agree to use the cards to take action on this issue. We nudge each other out of our complacency and feelings of defeat, and channel that energy into writing our senator, representative, the media, friends, family, whomever we’re inspired to reach out to on this topic.

What do you think? Will you be the light with me

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Here is the postcard, almost ready to pick up from Staples!

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Five free postcards – this is the print! – for spreaders-of-light! Copyright Sarah Dimattina

ARE YOU IN?! WILL YOU HELP SPREAD SOME LIGHT FOR THESE KIDDOS?

TO RECAP: I’ll send you five postcards* featuring my original hummingbird print above- and you agree to contact five people and advocate for the end of the child separation policy. AND, because I want to encourage a lot of people to take action – I’m also going to give away a tote bag featuring the art and a signed print to two lucky people who sign up! (Like I said, let’s spread some love and light.)

All you have to do is say “yeah Sarah, I can do that!” (via a google form, sooo easy) and I’ll mail you some postcards. Boom, done.

If we’re lucky, by the time you get the post cards in the mail the barbaric child separation policy will have ended. And if that’s the case, you can use the cards to advocate for another cause dear to your heart. Or another horrific policy that Trump has enacted in the meantime.

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You could win a tote! (And, it’s jumbo size for lots of bread and flowers! oooo!)

Are you ready to do it?  Just sign up here and I’ll ship the first batch of cards out tomorrow!

Thanks for helping shine some light. Let’s do this!

*Why postcards? Elected officials take extra notice of constituents who take the time to write a hand-written note, since most of us don’t bother to do that! You can also use the cards to encourage family and friends to take action. Who doesn’t love getting mail?!

p.s. I’m going to try to gather some articles on this topic for anyone who wants more info. Feel free to share in the comments below if you have read any good ones. Thanks!

Two weeks into Artist’s Way: big shifts and a return to 1980s crafting heaven

I just completed week two of the 12 week Artist’s Way program for recovering your creative self.  I need to put to page (er, screen) some of the shifts I have already seen in this short time. And I of course want to share with my readers because I know so many of you are artists, creatives, writers, spiritual seekers, and dreamers like myself.download

Here are what I’ve seen so far as being some of the biggest shifts and interesting outcomes thus far:

  1. A wonderfully delicious morning routine. Long ago I had a fabulous morning routine that involved waking at 6am, writing on this blog nearly daily, and gulping down copious amounts of cuban coffee. This routine ended up unraveling. The kid’s sleep routine changed and everything fell off the rails. The Artist’s Way has me back on track with waking early again (6am) and writing my morning pages. (Freestyle, stream-of-consciousness writing/journaling, for my eyes only.) It is awesome. I’m once again leaping out of bed, excited each morning for my time alone with a cup of chai and time to write.
  2. Unexpected creative bursts and ideas. One of the week 2 exercises was to list all sorts of activities you love and the last time you did them. My list included a lot of things that I hadn’t experienced since the late 1980s or early 90s. As I brainstormed, all sorts of related but unexpected things came to mind. Like, oh I remember making friendship bracelets and loving it. Wait, that reminds me, didn’t I used to make things with beads? What did I make? In my mind’s eye I could picture the tiny beads and remembered the feel of holding them in my hands. So, “bead making” went on the list. And this led to the next discovery….
  3. Unexpected parenting wins. Guess who would like to do 90% of the things on my list that I did when I was a kid? Why, my own kid! In fact, I shared the list with her and she was beyond ecstatic. I suddenly had a partner in crime. I went to the craft store without a plan, only following my whims (WOAH so right-brained of me!) and came home with bracelet making supplies.

    It turns out I like making beaded bracelets. What the what?!

  4. I made a bracelet! My daughter did some beading and actually was pretty amazing at working with the tiny beads (which I thought would be too difficult for her five-year-old motor skills. I was wrong.) Overall, I’m becoming a more playful parent and I’m also doing a lot more creative stuff with my daughter. Y’all I bought puffy paints and did them with my daughter. We are having a blast! WIN-WIN. But not everything is fun and games…
  5. ANGER. AND. FRUSTRATION!  Guess what. When you have a lovely morning routine and your child suddenly realizes you are waking an hour earlier and wants to join you, you get really sad and annoyed. I know it’s not her fault that she wants to hang out with me – I am pretty awesome with the beads and puffy paints after all. BUT. . .my morning routine! My precious, precious morning routine. I did not like this disruption at all. Which is why it was no surprise that when I turned the book pages to read about WEEK THREE, it was all about…
  6. Gaining Power and setting Boundaries. I laughed when I opened the chapter. OH. SO I AM RIGHT ON TRACK HUH? Because it turns out when you start having the creative bursts and experiencing the joy of creativity again, guess what? You don’t want that time taken away from you! But instead of becoming resentful or cranky (not that I was either of those things…never, not me!), Cameron writes how you can–guess what–address the boundary violations and fix them.

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    The morning sunrise view from my writing spot. Oh, so glorious!!

  7. I’m still figuring out the morning routine. Today I had my time to myself, but I decided if my daughter does wake really early on future days, I will swap the morning routine – get her ready for preschool, take her to school, and then return home for the writing pages time alone. It isn’t ideal (because frankly there is something quite magical about sitting with my journal watching the sun rise…ahhhh) but I also need to find solutions that ditch the resentment and allow for flexibility when parenthood throws me a curve ball.