Thursday, August 20, 2009

kal inspires me

Lately I've been inspired by Kal Barteski, and not just in a creative way. It seems my life is getting into a faster mode than it has been in the last few years. Her blog, if you read it at all, and oh I do, is all about her life as a self-employed artist, designer and web-business-lady + mom of two girls under two + recently married (like, in the past three years). As you might imagine, it's a pretty busy life, and she's always talking about how they planned to spend the day, versus how the day was actually spent. It sounds like a bit of madness over in Winnipeg with the Barteski-Kostenchuk clan!

However - Kal is also always talking about her creative life, and describing how she manages (or doesn't - on the stressful days) to find time to create. Not only that, but she frequently talks about how her life, as full as it is, will unexpectedly inspire her, especially since you never know from one day to the next how things will go - and you never know where your next ideas will jump from.

In Kal's case, the creating is painting, drawing and making art out of pictures and words using her computer and camera. She also sells stuff - books, magnets, artwork. I got started reading her blog when my cousin Maile (also a creative genius and busy mom - read her blog if you get the chance for more almost-daily photographs and wisdom and real-life insight) sent me Kal's book "LoveLife" as an early Christmas gift. I was immediately intrigued and checked out the blog, and have been hooked ever since. (It helps that Kal posts pretty much every day - she took a break to give birth, then she was back a week later and hasn't stopped since!) Then in May my brother and I bought one of Kal's "Awesome Mom" prints for our own mum.

So - I read Kal's work on pretty much a daily basis, and her artwork is in my home. It was inevitable that some of her busy-ness, as well as her full-on "Bulletproof Positive Attitude" would rub off on me! I was already a passionate writer and exploring photography, scrapbooking and combining the two. And, this last year, I've been coming back into a busy life, taking on a full-time job, as well as being very active in my community, as part of several different groups. I'm also practicing living a life that's directed by my deep desires - in other words, trying to live authentically. (Long story short: I got really sick in 2007, and as a result of that illness and subsequent soul-searching and counselling, realized that I'm happiest when I'm in certain places doing certain things, and started steering my life closer to those things I love so much. If you're not a regular reader, those things would be: Cape Breton, community, local, organic food, my own creativity, family and friends, the natural world.)

Now, I'm starting to see dividends: I'm happy in my work and personal life. But what that really means is that I feel a range of emotions, happy, sad and in between. The balance is not static, not a state of zero-gravity where you just float, buddha-like. It's actually all about making decisions, each day, each hour, and then dealing with the consequences. It's about movement, the flow of moments. Riding those waves. Sometimes you do it well, and sometimes you plug your nose and go under. Other times the waves catch you by surprise and you splutter and snort. Always, you learn

"I no longer fear the storms, for I know how to sail my own ship." This quote from Louisa May Alcott once caught my eye from the whiteboard in my counsellor's office, back in university, and it's stayed with me. While I still fear the storms, at least the really big ones, I know that my sailing skills are multiplying moment by moment. And, life is growing busier, but I'm practicing making decisions to make space for myself.

Space for what? Space for: alone time. Creating. Lying on a dock reading a book. Staying up too late (well, til 2 am) every now and again reading Coronation Street character profiles on Wikipedia - yes, that's right. But - that's what brings me joy. These spaces are part of hectic, real life - and hectic, real life is what continues to inspire me, continues to give me fodder for my own unfolding creative life, continues to make its way into my soul and then squeeze out of me through writing, drawing, photographing, collage-ing.

So this is me saying: Thanks, Kal. You've helped to make the Internet, and blogs, exciting again.

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