How I got from there to here - A personal Journey

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
WOW!  I'm NOT alone!  I'm not the only one who wants to live a happier and healthier life!  lol

I shared a layout on our Follow Your Art Blog The Plan is the Key and received LOTS of emails from others who seem to be on the same path as I and wondered how I am using visual journaling to help me on this quest. I want tho thank all of you who wrote and putting trust in me to share. I felt honored!

Yes, I guess this was a grand awareness somehow... I knew it in reality, but receiving the emails I did over the past few days somehow proved it to me that I really wasn't alone or so abnormal.  Somehow, this renewed my quest even stronger.  You gave me strength.  I even had a few "old friends" who have not seen me over 8 years ask me "why"?  Why do I feel like I need to be thinner, have more energy... because after all, the last time they saw me was before I moved west, I was the 43 year old mother of 5 who could walk 3' stilts carrying a 40# bucket of plaster. lol  I was the one who was 120# since I was 16 (except for those baby months).  I skied every week, I played 2 man sand competition volleyball every week... I had more energy than a 2 year old energizer bunny. lol  

I'm going to share something VERY personal with you today.  It is my hope, that in sharing this, I spark the motivation in others to take that first step in their own personal path. But there is a selfish reason too.

I KNOW by sharing this with others, I am making myself responsible and accountable to me. I am a very private person for the most part.  A lot remains private and only shared with a select few.  But I believe this is something that should not be. Something wonderful is about to happen because of this grand revelation. I feel it!  Actually something already has with a few I have shared this with so I'm hoping by sharing even more openly it helps others.  It is only one facet of my story... but it's a good example of how I tackled something through visual journaling and learned something very profound about myself.
"Why?" they asked.  Well... the answer is...  life. And an unfortunate turn of events one month 10 years ago.  That's what happened. 
I was one of the thousands Telecom Engineers laid off that month when a major company went under.  
I had the most difficult break up in my entire life and that led to the onset of depression setting in. 
I had just bought my dream house, (from that break up), and now feared I was going to loose it.  
I was in a motorcycle accident, that left me off my feet for months, I got severe pneumonia during that time and doctors put me on steroids when nothing else worked and between it all, I gained a whopping 50#.  Yes, I just said that publicly.  And no, the doctors never did cure me after months and months, my herbs did… whole other story. lol
And all of that occurred in matter of a months.  And I lost me.  Took me years to realize that. (And it was my Art that made me realize that. More on that in a moment.)

Each month and year after that I assumed (secretly hoped), that it would end.  The weight would come off.  The energy would return. My perfect job would reappear, my perfect soul mate would return, I would feel better about myself, life would be better in general....  It didn't.  So I dug into a negative thinking pattern and way of life.   Sure I found a new job, started dating again 5 years later, ended up moving across the country for work and did loose my home I loved so much...  I did make new friends... but I wasn't happy with me still nor my life in general. It started to be… but more of the same repeated… and then... I basically gave up.  Why bother?  I was never going to be that again.

Then one day, sitting thinking that, and actually letting the words breathe from my mouth...
"REALLY?"  I asked myself, more like yelled at myself.  "I don't think I want to accept that."  And by then my RA had really kicked in, because of the weight gain, because of the unhealthy living, because of the inactivity, and I could not walk up or down the stairs without severe pain and feeling like I was 80… and I could not hand sew any longer, I could not run around and play with my dog or my grand-daughter, I was not going out and enjoying life with friends, I had become a hermit, I again was not having an easy time with finances, life, a relationship.... it hit me!  Do something!  I was screaming it at myself!

And this appeared in my journal.  Notice the black background of doom, but the peak of a brighter thought with color.  Says a lot to me at least.  

As we all know, it's hard to get motivated to change something so huge that has become such a norm in our lives.  It actually became overwhelming... which is how I ended up there. We let all those little voices inside of us tell us we are fat, we don't look in the mirror because that's not us.  We don't go out because we don't feel good about ourselves or how we look.  Etc. Etc Etc.  I was so there!  I could see it everywhere in my life, but mostly in my journaling.  It was screaming at me and I was not paying attention.  This, along with another statement I wrote later, "You can not become whom you want, by remaining what you are." It was my wake up call. 

So what did I do?  How did I begin a new path?  How did I change my reality? I journal it.  Not just write in a diary of being miserable or not having or being what I wanted, but take my old lessons of whenever I wanted to manifest something or get rid of something negative I would get creative and do a visual art journal page or pages to make it sink in.  I would put all those negative thoughts down on a page, and cover them all up with paints and something pretty.  I released it!

This is a page I did that day of realization.  What you don't see is the writing under the book page covered with white gesso paint.  Those are the negative thoughts. I painted over them, I glued AND stapled paper over them.  They were put away!  It felt good!
Art from Beautiful Mess 1

Then I did a page of positive affirmations of what I wanted to become, what I wanted to attract in my life.  But I would do it in a present tense.  "The mind is a powerful thing" my mother always told me.  If you believe it, it will be.  Everything you can imagine can be real.  Somehow, believing and knowing makes us take note of everything around us and helps us work towards making that belief a reality.  Yes, the first step is usually the most difficult.  But I had a plan... or at least an idea for one.  :) 

I would dig in and make a very defined plan on how to get from here to there!   DEFINE, CREATE and BE the person I wanted to be!  Not just my physical body, but ME all around and the life I want to be living.  My Happy Place.  My perfect True.  My deepest Intensions.  I wanted to be the person I was, but BETTER!  And a side note of honesty here… if others didn't like, so what! This was for me and no one else.  And if I didn't like me or wasn't happy with me, no one else would be either.

What I did… 
Step 1:  List 5 things I want to be or have in my life.  My Goals.  My Intensions.
Step 2: Break each of those down into bite size pieces of mini goals to reach for.
Step 3: Focus on each of those mini goals and implement something, anything, in my daily life to attain them. 
Step 4: PRACTICE each day, working at least one thing for each goal and make it my reality. 
Remember these?  The first one was actually from almost a year ago, but I felt the need to do again so I did another page.  And the 2nd one was my first step for my first goal renewed this month.  
How?  By being honest with myself. By Following my Heart, my True.  How again?  For me, by following my Art!  Let my creative side of my art seep to the top and spill into my daily thoughts and stimulate my creative thinking... to get creative with My Life!

I am using my daily visual art journal pages help me grow, help me create and form my reality.  I have never art journaled for just fun and whimsey.  I do it with purpose, with meaning.  Just like most of us don't scrapbook just to put a bunch of meaningless pictures on our pages.  They all mean something personal to us.  They have value and purpose.

Visual Journaling is the same for me.  I use it as an outlet for negative thoughts.  I use it to affirm positive thoughts.  I use it to be creative and get all my creative juices flowing and it always sparks me to be more creative in many other areas of my mind and my life... like how to get my body and energy back! lol  

And when I do art... it rejuvenates me.  It makes me happy.  It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. It makes me believe I can concur something bigger. 
And I do! I always have.  I have always been the one they talk about and say that I always get what I want.... How? Because I work for it!  Because I create it! We make our own reality.  We make our own accomplishments along with our own failures.   And I know it's because of the fear of failure that can stop me from accomplishing by goals.  So I know I need to make smaller goals and even mini daily goals to have that feeling of accomplishment and the positive energy to tackle a bigger ones.

We are responsible and accountable to only ourselves for everything in our lives that happens.   Something else my mother's voice is always reminding me in my head.  When something is not right in your life, look at what I am contributing to that negative path and change it.  Change the negative thoughts and actions I am contributing, and the path will change. Whenever I have reminded myself of these words, and put this into action, it absolutely works!

What am I doing towards that negative path of being overweight and not having any energy?
VERY easy to see once I sat down and thought about it, and was honest with myself about it.
I think that cookies and ice cream are ok to eat because it makes me feel 'mentally' better and what's one cookie?  or two, or three....
I don't get up and do something active.  I use work as an excuse not to.  Or I use that I'm overworked and too tired to get up and be active.
I over salt my food for flavor knowing it aggravates my RA, knowing it's not good for my heart and body and makes me retain water which makes me feel bloated, which makes me feel tired.... See the circle?  
I think that staying in oversized clothes hides this from everyone... but it really is only hiding it from me.  I only had to stand in front of a mirror naked to have that one slap me into reality.
I think all of this will just magically go away and be better one day.  
Art from Beautiful Mess 7
Begin agin Today! I am working for a better me!  I will be that me that I want to be.  I will love who I am.  I will do what I love.  I will have what I need to do it all also!  
I am putting it out there to the universe to attract all that I need to get it done and be my reality.
Today:  I will put the salt shaker out of site and reach. I will ask my family to help me by doing this also.
Today: I will do at least a 30 minute walk.  I will make a time each day after to drop what I am doing and just do it!
Today: I will not reach for cookies, or chips instead of  lunch.
Today: I will eat breakfast
Today: I will not work more than 12 hours and will stop in time to have an hour for me before evening duties.
Today: I will put a happy face or a pretty stamp in my journal for accomplishing these things. :D  

Tomorrow?  I will do the same and add another thing I can do towards my goal of living healthier.  

If I falter in something, I will focus on that one thing and then add something else the next day.  I will NOT let it get me down, I will not feel like a failure, I will just learn to tackle one thing at a time until it becomes my new habit.

I know me... I know what tempts me and how to remove that temptation.  And I need to make an honest effort doing that. Most likely those Oreo cookies cannot be in the shopping cart next time and if the kids want cookies, they have to have something different that is not so tempting for me. lol   I also know that if I explain that to them, they will help me. Love my kids! And if not, I will learn to look away.  I will learn to find something healthy as a substitute.... like frozen Strawberry Banana Smoothies. :)  

Want to know a secret? I have been, and am, using this exact same method for several things in my life.  Work, love, family, and even time for playing in my art studio happy place. :)  I have them all broken down the exact same way.  Doesn't matter what the goal is.
DEFINE IT! CREATE IT!  MAKE IT A REALITY! One step at a time.  
Only YOU can make it happen.  No one else can.  No special pill can, no amount of money can.  Only YOU!  oh, that is for me by the way, not for you reading this. lol  But you can take it with you if you like. :)

Want proof it works?  I've lost 20# in a matter of a couple weeks.  I did fall off a tad over the holidays, but jumped right back on.  I didn't put any more weight back on, but I didn't loose any either.  But, I do feel better and have learned my triggers.  I don't think of it that I failed, I reviewed it for lessons to learn.
I now know I can not have ANY salt or sodium in my diet or the RA flairs up and it is one of 2 things that really really effects me physically.  I know now if I don't make time for my walk, or time for personal time out for some kind of art, I feel down and have no energy.  I know that if Oreo cookies are in the house, I will find them and I will eat them. lol 

But I only learned all this from journaling each day and looking back at the patterns.  I could see my up days, my down days, even in my art... I could see this by the daily eating record I decided to do, to figure out what exactly was effecting me physically and mentally, and putting it in my journal.  I saw that when I was not doing my private time happy hour of art quilting or art journaling I would mentally be down.  I saw that all of this effected me as a whole in how my days were in general from everything from being too tired, to being edgy and negative with my family. 

 It ALL effected me.  Which just made me work harder sticking to what I was doing and would make it better and easier not reach for the salt, the cookie, etc. and force myself to stop and walk, to make time to vent using my art as a tool, to be creative in art for me, and on and on.  
See the circle?

Knowing your circles, your habits, your patterns can be a very enlightening experience. But even more for me personally, it became empowering! I am now armed with what I need to succeed.   And I will!

I hope by sharing all of this  lengthy story helps others reach for their goals.  And if you want to journey with me, you are more than welcome to.  If not, that's ok too.  I still will.  I have learned that expressing through my art is my way of working it all out and setting the goals and sticking to them.

And all those other facets I am working on?  They are on their way to being accomplished too. :)

Bonus? My closest friends and my family see all of this and are taking mental notes.  Some will look at their own lives, some will not.  But if they learn even only one thing from all this, it was all worth it. 

ok… now all I have left to do here is click that publish button on top… it's a little scary, but here it goes. lol
Hugs, C

PS: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, I'm just me, a spiritual creature of nature, who has chosen to learn and grow and decided it would be a good thing to share. And if you read this far, God love you! LOL Cause this was a whopper of a post!


  1. thank you so much for being breave enough to share this, many blessings to you.

  1. Angie Young said...:

    Once again you have inspired me Cilenia. Thank you so much for sharing a little more of your personal story. It is hard to do that, but it blesses you and others when you do! You have blessed me! Thank you...

  1. Amazing post definitely moved me to hear your story, and I can relate to so many things you said. My word for 2012 is Release, and saw lots of examples of that in your post. Thanks for being willing to share so much with us!

  1. senovia said...:

    Good luck, Cilenia. You have a heart of gold and deserve to be healthy and happy. Love you, girl!

  1. vivian said...:

    Your words, like your art, is inspiring!

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