Sunday, January 25, 2009

Secret #3 Following Your Fascinations

I JUST finished reading this week's chapter for the book blogging group, 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women hosted by Jamie Ridler and I SO wish I had read this chapter a couple weeks ago seeing as the reason I had little time to squeeze in reading the chapter was I was heavily engaged/immersed/overwhelmed in potential risk taking in my life. In a totally unexpected and ironic twist almost immediately after my previous post stating I had the distinct priviledge of having the entirety of my home living space available for 'sanctuary' if I so choose - my younger sister called from half-way across the country saying she needed a place to make a fresh start and could she please come live with me.



Little Sis had entirely exhausted the patience and good will of our mother and both of our brothers as well as having driven her ex to file domestic abuse charges against her and obtain a 'no contact' court order. She is no ideal candidate for a room mate. She is disabled, bi-polar with a whole host of accompanying issues, doesn't know the meaning of the concept of privacy and definitely NOT one who could or would be encouraging to creative pursuits. But, she is my beloved baby sister and had never asked me for anything since I had married and left home over 30 years ago. How could I say no if my dearest, darlin' was willing to have her come here? So I've spent most of my time the past week (in retrospect relative to the terms of this week's chapter, calculating risk) researching bi-polar disorder, availability of resources for her needs, advice for living with potential new circumstances...and then there were daily long distance phone conversations with her and our mother, both of our brothers, her probation officer, etc. Among those conversations were a couple very painfully uncomfortable reality revelations on my part to Mom a therapist might call breakthrough moments. I was one busy gal and amidst all of that had 2-3 severely limiting high pain RA days.

I hardly had time to give a moment's thought to my creative self except for the likelihood that rather than being allowed to run free, she'd be canned and shelved until further notice. I wasn't thrilled at the prospect but I felt noble and even potentially heroic for the potential sacrifice. I even entertained thoughts/fantasies that the circumstances might even have an ideal aspect ultimately advantageous to me in that Little Sis might contribute to meal prep and housework that often so deeply taxes my body and stamina and prevents me from having much of either for creative pursuits.

At the last moment (my long distance interview with the probation officer resulted in her planning to recommend approval for Sis's planned move to the court), Sis decided to pursue application instead for admittance to a group home or other local housing option to avoid being too far for comfort from her two adult children. A part of me is hugely relieved - in fact I've given new thought to the Old Testament bible account of Abraham being called to sacrifice his son Isaac and how God didn't require the sacrifice, only the willingness to be obedient. My very personal lesson is a far greater appreciation of the value of that which I might have sacrificed.

On to the book - I so appreciate the stories/examples of those who have gone before US, so to speak. It's so encouraging to hear/read experiences of others both from the perspective of making things happen AND being in the right place at the right time as far as preparation meeting opportunity (they call that luck?). One of the challenges in the chapter was summarizing your own risk taking history - calculated or inpulsive and to write down a risk profile for yourself with guidelines for future risk taking based on experience and natural abilities.

Based on experience - some of the biggest risks I've benefitted from having taken would NEVER have been taken if I'd had an inkling the risk that was actually involved. I trusted intuition more than calculation and personally, I believe our calculated assessments are almost always falsely weighted by partiality, insecurity and false assumptions. Ignorance can be bliss. You don't know what you don't know. Realistically, we really have control over so little. I've never been able to understand how people can plan vacations for instance months and months ahead. Stuff happens. I remember stumbling upon the unbelievably profound lyric of John Lennon which says, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." *light bulb* Duh! The only thing 'prepared' I ever managed was 'prepared childbirth' with each of my 4 children and I KNOW how very blessed - some might say lucky - I was there were no major 'complications'.

I've long known my greatest limitation in approaching risk is being timid due to fear of failure. I'm afraid to try anything new I'm not confident of doing well - years of my real life patriarchal voice, dear old Dad, saying "If something's worth doing at all, it's worth doing well." All the years of easy success getting straight A's in school with minimal or no effort didn't serve me very well as training either how to make real effort or how to overcome mistakes/failures. I really wish I'd had more practice at an earlier age when it was easier for pride to heal.

I kind of envy all the collage makers in this creative circle - you have a huge head start, I think, on the last Chapter 3 Challenge to: Identify and celebrate your strengths as a creative woman and a positive risk taker, and post them in your sanctuary.
I think I may spend part of my mid-week day off Wednesday attempting to do just that.


  1. Yowza. What a big generous heart! I bet your sister is really touched you were willing - maybe knowing you really had her back was the thing that gave her strength to stand back up on her own 2 feet. (She sounds like a handful and I'm glad she's not coming, but I tres impressed with you!)

    I had a writing teacher who said "if something's worth doing, it's worth making alot of mistakes and embarrassing yourself over and over until you get it right. Then you know you really want it." Maybe that will help the next time dad's voice chimes in :)

  2. Phew!

    When you started describing your sister, I thought, "Oh no. She can't say yes!"

    When I read you agreed, I thought, "Wow! What an incredible person! Call the paramedics." :) I was worried for you.

    Now I'm relieved!

    What's a collage compared to that? :)