Permission to Expand

These past several months I’ve been thinking about this virtual space, specifically, about how it can support my ever-evolving Creative Living Experiment.

Four years ago (where did THAT time go?!), when I set out to leave my 9-5 job and create a more meaningful way of bringing in revenue, this blog became a platform of sorts for that. I focused on productivity, planning and my art: Stephanie Guimond – Artist, Visionary, Avid Left-Brainer.

Though I still “fit” in that title, it feels a little snug these days. Life has changed since 2011 and I’ve changed, which means some of the subjects I’m exploring have changed too.

There's a reason I changed my tag line a while back. Less labels = less constricting.

There's a reason I changed my tag line a while back. Less labels = less constricting.

It's time to expand.

Of course I've been resisting this, making up stories about how changes to the blog will alienate those who read what few posts I've posted these past few years, or how changing my "brand" may become confusing. Um, what brand? I cried uncle on this particular work transition nearly two years ago! And voici, another loud and nagging story: if I focus less on art here, no doubt it means that I'm done as an artist and that I may as well toss my brushes out with the paint water.


It's amazing the stories we make up, isn't it?

I acknowledge these stories for what they are: irrational, most likely normal, fears about expanding into something that's potentially uncomfortable.

Now that that's out of the way, I will give myself permission to move right on through them and adjust the mold I've created for myself to match what calls my spirit today.

Though I’m still passionate about productivity, planning and art, I want to go back to writing about other things too, like I did before I set out on my work transition. I want to explore subjects like beauty, stillness, books, growth, forward movement, nature, hearth & home, roots, space, clarity, joy, meaning, awareness, alignment and everyday wonder.

So I will, dagnabbit, I will.

And as for you, dearest, if the mold you've created for yourself feels snug today, if your spirit is being called to expand, I hope you will give yourself permission to say YES and explore with me, too.

The Space Between (or, How I Choose to Cope)

What does one write after the horrific events that unfolded this past week? After any horrific event, for that matter?

Emotions are raw: anger, fear, disappointment, despair. They're all there and they weigh heavy. My heart weighs heavy. The heart of the world weighs heavy.

All normal reactions, I'd wager.

What happened Friday in Paris broke my heart, as does some of the reaction I've seen since.

Le Penseur - digital art created shortly after our trip to Paris. The field in the background leads to the Eiffel Tower.

Le Penseur - digital art created shortly after our trip to Paris. The field in the background leads to the Eiffel Tower.

I will not venture solutions here, I will not even venture my opinion of what's right or wrong or what should be done because how the hell am I supposed to know?

What I'd like to propose here is that, even though lashing out is gratifying in the short term, allowing a bit of space between our initial emotions and our subsequent response may serve us better in the long run.

My Aries temper has been fired up more than a few times these past few days, but instead of engaging in what I feel would be a reactionary conflict, I'm choosing to try something different.

I am choosing to sit it out.

I am choosing to give myself space to explore the onslaught of questions that are coming up about my own fears, my values, and how I deal with differences. What makes me tick? What pushes my buttons and why?

I am choosing to learn more about the facts where I am ignorant and not well-versed. That's a shitload of stuff right there!

I am choosing to practice compassion with myself and with others. Sometimes it's hard. Very hard.

I am choosing to step away from social media when I just can't take another post, Facebook update or petition, which has been often. And forget the media at large.

I am choosing to escape when it all feels too heavy. Music, old movies, puttering, Pinterest and snuggling on the couch with D. and Cassie have become my go-to's.

I am choosing to heed and respect my personal coping mechanisms, and recognize that others' may be different.

I am choosing to connect with my Higher Power and pray. For those immediately affected by the attacks, for personal peace, clarity and discernment, for the leaders who will be making decisions in the aftermath, and for guidance in our collective understanding of these events and how they may bring us together instead of dividing us even more.

“When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

And, what may feel like the most difficult choice of all, I am choosing to trust in our leaders and in humanity, to believe that right and truth will prevail even though I'm not sure what that may look like right now.

So many questions, so little answers. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

In the meantime, may we meet in prayer, dear ones.

And may we meet again soon under better circumstances.