Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Sunday, January 31, 2010

In the center of Phoenix which is situated in the Sonoran Desert is a beautiful oasis of calm and serenity. The Japanese Friendship Garden, RO HO EN, is a joint project between Phoenix and our Sister City of Himeji, Japan. http://www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org/

The pond is in the shape of the kanji character kokoro, or heart. There are many types of trees and shrubs and the curving paths and bridges invite you to relax and meditate.

We spent a wonderful afternoon, a break in the rain, strolling the paths, taking pictures, sketching, watching a pair of mallards, and just finding ourselves again.

The gardens were built in the 1990s and I'm sad to say this is the first time we have been there although we've talked about it many times. Are there little oasis of tranquility in your area that you've been meaning to visit. Make a date with yourself or a friend or family member and just do it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

All Around the World

Awhile back I received an email from the Editor of the Tombstone Times (www.tombstonetimes.com) with some exciting news. A subscriber from Canada who travels around the world (especially Australia) regularly, sent her a little package from his visit to the Great Wall of China. It included a postcard, a paper coaster from Bejing, an empty jasmine tea wrapper and a small Chinese coin.

He wrote, "Sitting here at Days Inn reading the November 2009 edition of the Tombstone Times. I will leave it here with my Chinese Guide who has taken me all around Bejing in his car. He is familiar with the heroes of the old west like Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, etc... My guides names is... I will give him the Tombstone Times for his library."

So now my article on young Billy Clanton who died at the O.K. Corral is on somebody's shelf in Bejing. Who'd a thunk? It always amazes me that our Old West is so popular with people all over the world. I have made friends in Germany, Australia and England just though my interest in the West.

Two things strike a cord with me. The little package of simple things that are now precious to Janice (and would be wonderful for any art journaler). That something I have a part of has reached the opposite side of the globe and is being appreciated by someone there. How many people has that article reached? How many people has this man shared a little bit of culture with? How can I continue to make a small presence in the world?

Have a happy day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just do it.

Today is a beautiful day. The air is crisp, the sun is shining. All is beautiful.

I just had lunch with four friends, some of whom had never met before. We had a wonderful time even though two of them were just on their lunch hour from work.
We've been talking about this for months and finally I just said, this is the date, hope you can make it and let it go at that. Except one of them, the other common friend, didn't know we were doing it so it was a big surprise for her. The reason? None, but I decided it was a great day to celebrate: The Day.

How often have you said "we'll have to get together" or "I need to call my friend and set up a lunch date" or whatever. I do it way too often. And the list of missed opportunities grows and grows along with guilty feelings, stress, aloneness and realization of how quickly the days are slipping by.

Well, today is The Day. Choose a date and a place. Call one friend and make plans. Call some more friends and invite them to meet you. You will be doing your friends a favor in helping them make new friends. You will all smile, laugh, share and de-stress while you celebrate The Day.

Happy Day to all my friends... hope to see you soon.

What day are you going to celebrate?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Visual Journaling

About a year ago I discovered visual/art journaling and it has changed my life. Visual journaling is the joining of written journaling with collage, painting, drawing, sewing, stamping and anything else that happens along.

As I shared my new found creative endeavers those around me became intrigued and wanted to learn what I was learning through magazines, books, Web sites, blogs and videos.

As I gained a certain amount of confidence I started showing others how to free their creativie spirits on the pages of their journals. We now have a group we call Journal Inspiraion Group where a group of ladies get together, I teach them a new technique I've been trying out, and we have a great time working in our own journals.

That is part of what lead to this blog. I wanted to share with other people what visual journaling has done for me. So please enjoy a few of my journal pages and think about tapping in to your own creativity.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Doing Nothing

Hello Friends,

I'm reading the first chapter of Walking In This World by Julia Cameron and one of the tasks she assigns is to "do nothing." She says to put on some calming and expansive music stretch out, relax and follow your train of thought...for fifteen minutes.

This reminded me of a scene in Winnie the Pooh. Christopher Robin is sitting in a tree and Pooh walks up and asks what he's doing. "Oh, Nothing," CR replied. Pooh asked what that was and CR answered that it was what you do when somebody asks you what you are doing and you say, "Nothing."

I love that scene. When I got to thinking about this I realized that although there are short periods when I do nothing if somebody should happen to call or ask what I'm doing I would feel compelled to tell them what I've been doing. I can't admit to doing nothing. As adults we need to have that time to "do nothing" and replenish our inner being, and perhaps admit to it.

What are you doing?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Morning Pages

Every morning I spend time with a spiral notebook and fountain pen writing about the day before and the day to come. I write about things I need to do, ideas for doing them, I sort out my thoughts on things going in my life and the world around me. I do my best to write three full pages without stopping.

When I am done I feel peaceful. I've gotten rid of many thoughts that started racing through my mind as soon as I woke up. I've sorted out the things I need to do for the day. Sometimes I write about something special that happened the day before and sometimes I rant about something difficult happening in my life.

I've been doing morning pages as instructed by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self for years. They make a big difference in how I feel and my husband even says he can tell when I have skipped them for a day or two.

Next week I start an on-line class on the sequel, Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity being lead by creative coach Quinn McDonald (www.quinncreative.wordpress.com.) I've taken workshops with Quinn and she is extremely inspiring. I look forward to learning new things and finding more of my creative self.

In the meantime, I will be doing my morning pages and hope some of you will give then a try. Let me know how they work for you.

Happy Writing,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Finding My Way

I picked up my mail this morning and there was the most recent issue of Tombstone Times, "Tombstone Arizona's History and Information Journal." There on the first page readers are welcomed to their 8th year. My how time flies. I have known Janice and Keith, publishers and editors of the monthly journal, almost since the beginning. They print history, events and feel- good news from the town. I have been doing a column about the history of the various buildings for the past few years.

I have always loved the Old West. I grew up watching the wonderful old westerns on television: Wyatt Earp, Gunsmoke, and Have Gun, Will Travel. Besides visiting the Wild West through the television screen I was born and raised near Dodge City, Kansas. I loved the old museum, the streetfights and having a sarsaparilla in the Long Branch Saloon.

The love of the Old West stayed with me and became a a big part of my life about 12 years ago. I've made friends with reenactors, authors, actors, and other enthusiasts. I even have my own book, O.K. Corral Postscript: The Death of Ike Clanton. I spend hours every week researching and writing about the West. I'm still trying to find a way to merge that part of me with another budding part of me.

I discovered art/visual journaling about a year ago and it has made a big difference in my life. My goals, my thoughts, my dreams have all shifted. I've discovered a part of me I didn't completely accept until now. I am creative, I am a writer, I am an artist and I love helping others discover their own creative self. A shift in my way of thinking and doing.

Also on the cover of the Tombstone Tmes is the word HOPE. Is it coincidence that this is my word for 2010? Of course not. I just have to apply it to my everyday life and spread the word to all I come in contact with.

P.S. Congratulations Janice and Keith and keep up the good work.