Desert Wisdom

As we approach Thanksgiving here in the USA, we reflect on those for whom and that for which we are thankful. Every year, my mind immediately goes to the basics: faith, family, friends.  Words of gratitude shared, hearts warmed.

This year, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs comes to mind… for the basics - physiologic and safety needs - stand in danger of imbalance in ways I've NEVER experienced in my life. Truth be told (and at a time like this, I am best served by facing the truth), looming scarcity is scaring me... thankfully into an action plan. 

Maslow.png

That said, coming to terms with my financial reality shocks me. How did this happen?  How did I let this happen? Why did I let this happen???

Recognizing these as not enough/fear based questions, I remember to bring compassion alongside curiosity. I am still good. I am still important. I still matter. Though I cannot fathom the bigger picture, I choose to trust. I choose to find my way out of this barren desert with its lessons hard learned. I believe I am right where I'm meant to be, that all will work out. I can actually feel a sense of deep gratitude for my dire financial straits. 

Marie Forleo coined the phrase "everything is figureoutable" and I lean gratefully on that promise today. Next to that, my morning scripture reading comes from the Old Testament, from the chosen people, those who spent long years in the desert. Wisdom 2:23-3:9* speaks to me, calling out to be paraphrased, and I allow myself to be drawn into its somehow nourishing, desertesque mystery... 

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Desert Wisdom

God intends Abundance Art to thrive;

In the image of his own nature he manifested it through me.

 

Despite best intentions and efforts, the creative livelihood fizzles, desperate.

I feel the doubt and despair of bitter disappointment.

I am overwhelmed by it.

 

Then I remember… Abundance Art remains in the hand of God, 

and no torment shall touch it. I claim this truth.

My dream, my vision, my mission may seem, in the view of skeptics, dead;

this seeming failure thought finished business

and my passion in going forth in it utter foolishness.

 

But wait, I too am at peace.

For if up to now, if spendingselffundingretirementmoneygoneoverwhelmingdebt, indeed, be seen as ridiculous loss,

yet my hope remains full of promise;

 

Pruned muchly, I shall be greatly blessed,

because God tried me

and has found Abundance Art worthy of himself.

 

As gold in the furnace, he proved me,

and as sacrificial offerings he took every clouded dream to himself.

So that at the right time, Abundance Art shall shine brightly,

and shall dart about as sparks in the darkness.

 

Creativity, nourishment, love and healing shall reach nations and touch the hearts of peoples around the world,

and the Lord shall be my King forever.

I shall understand truth,

and Abundance Art shall abide with him in love.

 

Because grace, mercy and prosperity are with his holy ones,

and his abundant care is with me, always.

 *Paraphrased from Wisdom 2:23-3:9. Actual text follows (Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine):

God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made them.
But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world,
and they who are in his possession experience it.

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, 
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.

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The Power of Telling My Truth

As artist, writer, and owner of my own creative entrepreneurial small business, I've learned more than I could have imagined these last few years. Blessed with supporters and consultants who helped me create a strong foundational structure, including my website, I love having a place to share my creativity.

This, my third and final career, was born out of an immense healing journey that has spanned the last almost ten years. Coming from a background of operating room/theatre nursing and clinical informatics, I would find and come to know and love my deepest truest self through trauma recovery and healing.

I would also discover my inner prolific artist. And my vision and mission: to live abundantly by nourishing the world with what nourished me. My passion would include sharing my story of trauma healing through art.

Painting, photography, drawing, illustrating, journaling, poetry, memoir and blogging all found their places on my website. The online store opened a year later. Then, contrary to my previous professional experiences and the expectation that once I built it they would come, nothing happened.

Well, barely nothing. I did make a few small sales, and began to grow my subscriber list. I received positive feedback from friends and family and online coaching communities. Then… comments that there was too much, it was confusing, they weren't sure where to go or what it was I was trying to say, share, accomplish.

Redesign was in order.  I was optimistic and intentional about this being the right path to take.

Upscale photographic metal prints of my Chandeliers from Russia collection would be featured on a separate website, designed with a contemporary, glossy theme.

I would remove all trauma related content from my original website, because it seemed a distraction from the art I wanted to sell.

The new design and redesign proceeded. I confess I felt like I was cutting a part of my own self/soul off as I pruned my original website of its trauma content. Still, I persisted, creating clean and clear cut design and messaging.

No sales. Even with 30%, 50% discount promotions.

I had worked so hard, followed the guidance of paid and unpaid consultants, grown a following on Instagram and Facebook, boosted and promoted, been liked and followed.

But no conversion to sales.

The one thing that kept me going (in addition to my firm conviction that this is my calling and it is meant to be) was that interaction with the world through my Instagram and Facebook posts, as well as my online coaching group. And the encouraging responses I received: Keep going. You got this. So inspiring. Thank you.

Also, I had begun work on my book From Fear to Love: One Woman's Courageous Journey Through Trauma Recovery, an energizing undertaking. And eventually I figured out what was really going on, learning a very important truth:

My story, my journey, my creativity all comprise a complete whole that cannot and should not be pulled apart. They are both meant to be explored. Together or separately. Sharing my trauma healing story, my truth, my ME, makes me feel complete.

With great love, I redesigned the redesign of my original website. I also redesigned the new website a bit to better fit who I am and how I want my beautiful chandelier photos to be experienced online. And I felt better, whole again.

And now we get to the heart of this little essay:

Less than one week after adding those images and poems, journal excerpts and trauma healing stories back to my website, I received an email from a reader, and here are some excerpts:

I just want to say thank you. I stumbled across you today and it couldn't have been more timely for me… your words on working through your own trauma gave me an unexpected sense of peace… Just a few minutes going through your posts has helped me breathe again through my anxieties and re-center myself on all of my abundant blessings. I can and will move forward- I will be better than okay!

I don't know if you have many people who stop to take a moment to acknowledge the good you're putting out in the world…. So thank you. Thank you for sharing your journey, and for your honesty and bravery in doing so. Thank you for putting good out into the world. And thank you for somehow being in the right place at the right moment for me. 

Talk about timing! I felt a profound sense of gratitude learning that the sharing of my story helped someone else. It strengthened my deep commitment to and belief in my calling to nourish the world. That it will all fall in place.

THAT is the power of telling my truth.

May you be blessed with knowing and loving your deepest self. And the courage to tell your truth.

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A Poem for Peculiar People Day

You know what today is?

National Peculiar People Day.

Do you qualify to celebrate? I do, just enough. So I wrote this poem:

 

Peculiar People Day

 Pretending to drink scotch with a wax-man in Scotland.

Pretending to drink scotch with a wax-man in Scotland.

Today is Peculiar People Day

I'm thrilled to have one come my way!

So often I feel a bit out of place,

And now I know theres more than enough space...

 

For peculiar ones, yes, we goofy galore!

We notice things others completely ignore.

Like bright little flowers growing out from a rock.

The shape of a cloud, the geese in a flock.

 

 Near my flat in London. Life finds a way.

Near my flat in London. Life finds a way.

We might seem straight laced

And that’s all you see, 

If only you knew

What’s inside of me!

 

We do quirky things,

 Skydiving over Stonehenge, England. Yes, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. So. Much. Fun.

Skydiving over Stonehenge, England. Yes, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. So. Much. Fun.

Right out of the air,

We may have tattoos

About everywhere.

 

Peculiar, eccentric, a little bit strange,

You’ll find us across the whole wide range.

Embrace us, love us, just as we are,

For our spirit and spunk are as bright as a star.

 Singing with "Elvis" in London.

Singing with "Elvis" in London.

 

Be curious, open your heart, go wild!

And discover your inner peculiar child.

Diversity rounds out the lives we share,

Don’t be afraid, get on out there.

 

Happy Peculiar People Day!

If you'd like to read more of my poems, you can find them in this post.

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Maitri: Unconditional Loving Kindness

Do you ever feel so tired that you just can't muster the energy to do what you intended to do?

More importantly, do you reach out for help and support when you need it?

I'm exhausted right now and I have a blog to write. And, I'm asking for support and it's showing up from the most unlikely source. My cat Maitri has offered to write my blog for me, and I have accepted. One thing you should know - she calls me by my nickname, Nettie.

Over to you, Maitri.


Thanks Nettie. By the way, this blog is dedicated to Zoe, who loved Annie and Craig with all her heart. You are missed!


Ok. Think 2012. Middle East. Doha, Qatar. The hot desert. Where I was a little baby kitty, all on my own. Someone was kind enough to rescue me and get me to the vet for care and fostering. Thankfully, I was socialized early enough in my life that I could be offered for adoption.

Nettie likes to tell the story of how I literally fell into her hands that day. She had brought in her other cat, Lucy (a beautiful and shy but sweet tuxedo kitty), adopted a week previously, for her follow up checkup.

As Nettie passed the cage I was in, the latch opened all on its own (ok, it may have had something to do with me pushing on it from the inside - I'm quite clever). I started to tumble out, and she instinctively reached to catch me in her hands. I was so tiny at the time it was a perfect fit.

All she had to do was look at me, my one blue and one hazel eye staring back at her brown eyes. She took in my adorable face and completely white fur, and these words came out of her mouth with a loving smile:" Oh, you are definitely coming home with me."

And I did. That day! 

Lucy, decidedly unhappy with my arrival, stayed behind a curtain for the first twenty four hours. Eventually she found that we could share the same space and even showed me the ropes a bit.

I had found my forever home.

One thing Nettie noticed straightaway was that I didn't respond to sounds like normal kittens. So she did a little testing, like calling my name and clapping her hands. No reaction. At my follow up appointment with the vet, her suspicions were confirmed.

I was deaf. Nettie said, "Oh, she'll never hear me call her name." And the vet said, "That's ok. She'll be able to read lips." Silly vet.

But Nettie was a bit sad, because she purposely had chosen the name Maitri, which is a Sanskrit word meaning unconditional loving kindness. And now I would never hear it.

She decided to write a poem in her journal about her feelings and experience:


I adopted a kitty - named Maitri

A sweet little white ball of fur

Unconditional loving kindness

Is what I had in mind for her

 

Her eyes, one blue and one hazel

Search my eyes and connect, so I think

With deep concentration she watches

Then pokes mine before I can blink

 

I'm sad as I think of her deafness

She'll never know to come when I call

Yet now as I cry in my grief-ness

She appears, loving kindness and all

 

Her playfulness-goofiness delight me

It's so good to laugh out loud

Her softness and tinyness quiet me

She's Maitri, loving kindness avowed


Isn't that cool? That I don't have to hear my name to be my name?

There's so much more I want to share with you, but Nettie really wants to get to bed. So I'll wrap it up with two calls to action for all humans who are reading this:

Come follow me on Instagram @maitri_memweowr, and learn more about me and my escapades at http://www.abundanceart.com/all-about-maitri

Unconditional loving kindness to all!

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On Journaling

What are you grateful for today?  Or could be a who? Or both? Hopefully lots of each.

When I journal tonight, the first thing on my gratitude list will be my newly unwrapped journal. Made by paperblanks, in the UK, which is where I first found and bought this particular style. I value it for its beautiful cover, its hand bound back, its luscious lined paper. No matter what page I am on, the journal lies flat. It welcomes me. Just as its fourteen predecessors have.

Do you journal? Have you ever? What has the experience been like for you?

Do you keep your old journals, perhaps in a hidden place with instructions for a loved one to destroy them on your death? Do you burn them, offering them as a sacred gift to the universe, a saying good-bye to the past? Do you throw them away?

I'm inclined to keep mine. In fact, I share excerpts on my website. Pam, my Abundance Art graphic designer aptly put it when she said "It's like you're inviting people into your life." Which I am. I feel called to do it.

Deeply, passionately called. Maybe my pain and healing can inspire and encourage someone else.

I first journaled over 25 years ago. March 10, 1991, less than two weeks after my mother died in her sleep at the age of 64. My first entry reads "Heart attack. 50% of all diabetic heart attacks are silent. Mom always was a quiet sort." I would journal sporadically, analyzing the correctness of my grief and anger as if there was a right or wrong way. Writing down excerpts from books I was reading, as if that would sort me out. I stopped after a year.

It would be eight years before I took up the practice again, this time a gratitude journal as I strove desperately to document happiness when deep inside I was broken. An unhealthy marriage had taken its toll on me.

I was so frozen for so long.

Ahhhh … a brief pluviophile respite! There on Feb 2, 2000, I wrote "The rain! The rain! The rain! Awesome thunder through the evening." Even back then, those drops of water and rumbly thunder were balm for my soul.

Now my journals are filled with emotions across the spectrum - no hiding from rage! - and lots of illustrations using water color pencils. Dialogues with myself as inner parent and inner child (a technique learned from Self Parenting by John K Pollard and Linda Nusbaum). And oh! How I love my inner child! I'm so glad I met her and fell in love with her along the way!

I had learned  to allow the wisdom of my body, including my brain, explore whatever shows up.

Guess what? Life shows up.

 IP = inner parent, IC = Inner child, TY with a circle around it means thank you for telling me that.

IP = inner parent, IC = Inner child, TY with a circle around it means thank you for telling me that.

I see now that in my early journaling, there was an unrealized fear that someone would read and judge. Oh, little girl! I'm so thankful we got over that! I'm proud of my outpouring of these last eight years, in the darkest of times, when hope peeked in, when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel only to have it snuffed out… for now, not forever. I'm living safely in the light now, saying hello to the darkness when it appears. I'm raw, honest, real.

There's a different energy, as I use the resources I've learned through years of trauma healing. The energy that's poured into the paper has started to flow through my body and into my life. My healing path continues.

What kind of path are you on? If you haven't journaled, does it feel like something you'd like to do? The only advice I want to offer is that you choose a journal that welcomes you in. Think comfort. For it just might become your refuge.

Come now into my journal, explore the words and images of my journey, including poems. Be inspired and encouraged in your own path. You can start here, where you'll find the Journal section with its own  introduction. If you prefer to dive right in, start with Wondrous Healing and navigate to other entries with the navigation bar at the bottom of each page. (see below, which is also a hyperlink - cool!)

Blessings to you in your life journey!

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Weather or Not

As I was thinking about today's blog topic, my mind kept wandering to poems I've written over the years. Specifically about weather. Especially about the kind of weather I like - cloudy, rainy, cool.  It turns out there's a word for people like me: pluviophile - a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

The kind of weather I don't like - sunny, cloudless, hot. In fact, when we go without at least some clouds in the sky for a couple of days, I get restless. If we go without clouds and/or at least wind for more than a few days, I get cranky. If we go without rain for several weeks, I get sad. I'm serious. I feel depressed.

You've heard of seasonal affective disorder? People not getting enough sunlight in winter? I don't get that. I mean, I really don't get that. So when a beautiful sunny day shows up, and people are saying "what a beautiful day it is!" I do my best to smile and say "it sure is." As much as I prefer clouds and rain, I don't want to rain on their parade. I'm really glad for those people on those days. And besides, I do want to honor the great beauty in creation on those days. But give me rain and clouds any day. Every day. And if not rain, then at least clouds. Especially in summer:

I always knew I was different. No wonder I loved living in London so much. And in the Middle East so little.

 My Kind of Summer Day by Annette Hadley, acrylic on canvas, 2014

My Kind of Summer Day by Annette Hadley, acrylic on canvas, 2014

And so, today I share my weather related poems, hoping they nourish you like a fresh rain shower after a drought.  Or a sunny day after a storm. Whatever floats your boat.

Seasons

Winter's blowing snow

Spring's fragrant grow

Summer's morning glow

Autumn's letting go

 

Pluviophile

Oh the comfort and calm of this cloudy morn, the soothing softness of new day born.

The rain, when it comes, joins the song of the birds, my well being, peacefulness, needing no words.

Would that it were like this day after day, clouds scudding 'cross skies, going on their way.

The sound - rain falling - my very soul feeds; I hunger, I thirst for the nourishing beads.

Of water, that which I love so dear, to feel, and hear it continue near.

As it falls from the sky. It nourishes earth. It brings new life, for me new birth.

 

Raining

Oh this rainy morning bed

Claims my body, toes to head.

Comfort seen and comfort felt,

Lying here, no speck of guilt.

 

Thunder Summerstorm

The thunder rumbles…

 Thunder Summerstorm by Annette Hadley, digital design, 2016

Thunder Summerstorm by Annette Hadley, digital design, 2016

There is something that must be heard.

The rain pours from the sky.

Nature herself is crying. 

The storm intensifies: 

Listen to me! 

Listen to me! 

Crack! open the past... 

Crack! open the wounds... 

Flash! to see and be surprised by what follows...

It is dark.

It is scary.

It is consuming.

It is cathartic.

It will have its way and...

I observe it.

I do not change it.

It changes me.

For the better.

And for that I am deeply grateful.

 

Summer Said Bye-Bye

Summer said bye-bye last night, whisked away by storm.

It's cooler in the night time now, days not hot, just warm.

My soul, relieved, can breathe again,through nature's changing flow.

Soon it will be autumn time, the season to let go.

 

Autumn Leaving

I watch the leaves falling in the

Bright-crisp autumn air.

I want to catch each one in my hands

And whisper "thank you for teaching me about letting go."

And I understand that

The trees must let go too;

And sometimes

That leaves them crying.

 

 

I haven't written a poem about winter… yet. But I will tell you one thing. I ALWAYS make a snow angel.

 Snow Angel by Annette Hadley, body on snow, Tromso, Norway, 2008

Snow Angel by Annette Hadley, body on snow, Tromso, Norway, 2008

At least once a year. And winter is on its way.

Like the poems in this post? Check out my poetry page for more, and then pop into the store

 

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Introducing Maitri

Hello world!

Today I introduce you to Maitri. She's my exotically beautiful white cat with a lingering hint of blue in one eye, the other golden. I call her my Zen kitty; in fact, in Sanskrit, her name means unconditional loving kindness, and that really fits her. Calm, curious, friendly, patient, mellow (mostly), very much living in the moment. Intentional and determined, with a plush coat of fur made for petting… when she's in the mood. People not particularly fond of cats like her. People fond of cats love her. She has just now started purring at the age of three… what a pleasant discovery!

That said, she's deaf, and often her primitive ancestry takes over her inner quiet with a full range of roaring meows and antics that entertain and sometimes startle, especially in the night. She makes me laugh out loud. Every day.

I adopted her one week after I adopted Lucy, my young black and white beauty. This was in Doha, Qatar, 2012. I had Lucy at the vet for her one week post adoption check up, and I stood near a cage housing kittens for adoption. All of a sudden the door latch came undone, and this adorable white kitten started falling out. Quickly catching her, I looked into her one blue eye and one hazel eye, fell instantly in love,  and said "Oh, you're coming home with me, and your name is Maitri."

Maitri baby kitty.png

Within a few days, I suspected she was deaf, something the vet would confirm at the next visit. As I reflected my disappointment out loud that she would never hear me call her name, the vet's tongue in cheek comment "Oh she'll be able to read lips" cheered me a bit. Still, my sense of loss lingered, so I decided to journal it, and this is what emerged:

I adopted a kitty - named Maitri,

A sweet little white ball of fur.

Unconditional loving kindness

Is what I had in mind for her.

Her eyes, one blue and one hazel

Search my eyes and connect, so I think.

With deep concentration she watches,

Then pokes mine before I can blink.

I'm sad as I think of her deafness…

She'll never know to come when I call.

Yet now as I cry in my grief-ness

She appears, loving kindness and all.

Her playfulness, goofiness delight me;

It's so good to laugh out loud.

Her softness and tiny-ness quiet me;

She's Maitri, loving kindness avowed.

Now, back in Kansas City, we share our home with Kiki, a sleek black indoor/outdoor kitty, who came to live with us in spring of 2014. Because Maitri is deaf, it's not safe for her to be out and about on her own. But she clearly communicates her desire to do so by standing at the door and offering anything from persistent plaintive mews to proclaiming her loud ME-OUTs. Our compromise?  Harness and leash. A longer leash for the backyard, a shorter one for our walks. Yes. For our walks. It's really quite fascinating to watch her explore her world, remembering that she cannot hear the birds, or the kids playing, or (yikes!) the cars. She and Kiki have made names for themselves in the neighborhood, and I'm known as the lady who walks her cats: Maitri on a leash, Kiki walking beside… or behind… or in front… or not at all. And Lucy? Inside, please and thank you.

Maitri  has the best stories to tell, and she is in the process of writing her memweowr. Seriously. OK, it's really me. Using her character as first person. But this is the only time I'll say it.

In her Maitri's Memweowr Instagram account, she tells tales of her life and that of her human and catpanions. She teaches mindfulness and stillness, provides insightful observations, writes poems, and is featured, along with Lucy and Kiki in short videos. Her following is growing, which is cool, because she wants to spread her unconditional loving kindness - and her quirkiness - all over the world.

Every Instagram post is also shared to her Facebook Fan Club page, and she's got YouTube on her mind for the future. She just needs to figure out the best way to get there and stay there. She might decide to ask another human for help. 

Maitri Facebook.png

Oh, and another thing: mosaics. Maitri Mosaics. This kitty has a tendency to knock things over for fun. In my undecorated Doha flat I gave her, among other toys, a bowl and plastic balls to play with and we brought those back to KC. So, I didn't think twice when unpacking decorative items from my year-away storage.

Her curiosity and resourcefulness stunned me.

I learned the hard way, too late to save the Moroccan vase and the Norwegian glass plate featuring a beautiful abstract of green and red Aurora Borealis against a sky of cobalt blue (my 50th birthday present being a trip to see the northern  lights in person - and I did!). Plus some other pieces here and there. Finally I discovered Quakehold, museum putty designed to protect fine furnishings against the rumblings of earthquakes. Or in my case, cat-quakes. If you come to my home, you will see globs of the stuff securing photo frames, candle holders, knick knacks, and anything else Maitri-worthy. Including the mosaic plate I made out of the pieces of my Norwegian plate. There are more Maitri Mosaics to come, as I've kept the bits and pieces along the way. Plus I dropped a dish one day... 

Maitri Mosaic.jpg

So. That's Maitri, unconditional loving kindness. And quirkiness and fun. But don't take my word for it. She likes you already and invites you to like her back, and follow her life journey and reflections on Instagram or Facebook. No obligation, of course, because her love and kindness are unconditional.

Is she cool or what?

Me-out

Maitri/Annette

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