Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
 
Needless to say, it has been awhile.  I find that despite having plans, life can easily change one’s itinerary on this earth plane.

My usual M.O. (method of operation) is sleeping (!), eating(!), teaching Art to teenagers, playing with others, pondering, creating and sharing.  Then repeat. In my pondering time, I find myself coming up with new ideas. In the past year, I had three ideas that I was passionate about, and was beginning to germinate.

  • Idea #1 was creating a series called the Portraits of Resilience; through these works I wanted to help turn negative situations into positives, as well as showcase inspiring, everyday heroes. 
  • Idea #2 was that I came to the realization that it was time to share my story (and my Art). I was chosen to speak, in a T-Ed like talk, at Life is a Verb Camp, in North Carolina.  The talk was called “The Courage to Remain: Choosing Life and Love.” 
  •  Idea #3 was the internal confirmation that I wanted to revamp my webpage. I wanted to include exciting new tidbits, weekly sharings and so much more.  

Well…. life had other plans. I was rerouted!

The past year has been progressively challenging to not only my life, but my ideas and plans. First of all, my chronic condition (the growth on my spine) has become more chronic. Pain levels have increased dramatically, and treatments that worked last year, have stopped in their effectiveness. Specialists and Doctors are at a loss on how to help me.  In fact, my pain levels have been so high, that I had to forego my speaking engagement (at the Life is a Verb Camp).  But the biggest agony in my life, and in my heart, has been the end of life status, and the passing of my mom (this past September).  She was a woman who helped define me, and who was my biggest cheerleader; she is no longer here and I feel this loss. 

Life has a way of putting things on pause.  And so we should. 


Please know that if life puts you on pause, it isn’t the end.  It is a moment of rest and reflection before you take your next flight.  
 
 
Resilience
Dictionary.com defines resilience as the ability to spring back, recover from adversity, illness, depression, or the like; buoyancy. Somehow, I think you know what I am talking about.  

The Background to this Project
In the fall of 2014, I will be presenting at a national conference.  My presentation will be about the story of my own resilience; I have a chronic condition (a growth on my spine), have gone through hell and have returned a healthier, more productive, happier and more balanced person.  Through the showing of my Art, I will show my process and growth during this difficult time in my life.

Turning a Negative into a Positive!
I believe the world is full of resilient people; individuals who have sprung back from tough circumstances and situations, and are living rich and vibrant lives.  Instead of focusing on the problem, as such, I wish to help others see and be inspired by the solutions.  Knowledge is power.

Bounce-back Heroes! 
When we were younger, we had heroes; we looked up to these people and dreamed.  I think, as adults, we still need others to inspire and encourage our hopes.  Life can be hard and full of twists and turns, mountains and valleys, and pain and sweat.  As social beings (even us introverts!) we need to know that we aren’t alone on our journey.  Today, amongst us, there are Resilient Heroes that are being honest, sharing their journey and breaking the silence to help us along our path.  

What is a “Portrait of Resilience?”
I am a teacher, artist and writer.  I love to combine these three roles together.  I intend to create a literary and visual (an Artwork and Words) creation on Resilient Heroes.  Regular people who have buoyed the tidal waves of an adversity or illness and are now living a full life.  

Through research, personal interviews (via in person, phone, iPhone FaceTime, Skype and etc.) and/or a survey I have created, I will gather information about each Resilient Hero’s journey from adversity to success.  By doing this, I will be able to create a “Portrait of Resilience” that represents them through my ArtWork and Words.

My Hope…
I want to help others.  I want to give others the tools that have helped others succeed.  I believe that there are common denominators in how people suffer and how they effectively cope, and therefore, thrive with their condition. I wish to share what I, and others, have learned.  I believe in the power of, not only, knowledge, but hope.

My Thanks…
Thank you to Nancy Drummond for her pdf. file, that I found on the internet, to construct these questions you are about to answer.  Her work entitled “The Psychology of Chronic Illness,” is a valuable glimpse into the life of a chronic condition.  And finally, I may be thanking you.  If you wish to share your story, please contact me.  I know you will make a difference to someone's life with your story and what you have learned.

Sincerely,
Barbara