Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out With the Old

    The new year is hours away and as I look back and reflect on 2011 I KNOW 2012 will be better. 2011 brought a lot of new realizations for me. Some were good, some not so good. Some were spiritual, some were personal. I'm happy to say goodbye to 2011 in an upbeat mood. There is much to look forward to in the new year and I intend to stay positive and focus on the goals that I will set down for myself. This year is going to be all about the word BELIEVE. I believe that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to and that I can create my own success. Believe is a powerful word, in fact it can empower you if you chose to believe. 
    2011 gave me some challenges, health wise and personal. My health took a beating around September and spiraled downward. I deal with Hashimoto's, which is a thyroid condition. It also gives me other problems like IBS, food sensitivity, achy joints, compromised immune system. Yeah, it's not fun, granted I take medication but a simple cold can throw it all off. Which is what happened to me in September, I got a cold that put me in bed for two weeks. It messed with my thyroid and it's been a roller coaster ride ever since. There was a trip to the emergency room which yielded nothing more than bruises up and down my arms from needles. I had to wear a heart monitor, go for an echo cardiogram both of which showed no problems with my heart. It's just the rest of my body that refuses to work. But low and behold at the end of the year I ended up with medical insurance which is a goddess-send! Seriously, I can actually go to a doctor and go for an eye exam which I have been in bad need of. 
   On the personal side, I found myself unemployed, again, right before the holidays. That was a tough pill to swallow considering I was very good at what I did and had an entire office that supported me. Unfortunately the ass hat that was my boss wanted a degree for the job. Really??? Ummmm, yeah, really. There tears shed, and then I realized that it wasn't my fault. It was their loss, not mine. I proved above and beyond that I wanted to work there and that I was capable of doing the job. I took it as I did what needed to be done there and there was nothing left for me to do. My time had come and I needed to do what was right for me in the end. So, I opened my little shop on Etsy and Tribe Zen Creations was born. I plan on opening up a second line of jewelry in the new year that is different from Tribe Zen. Right now I am going to re-do pictures and get the shop updated and looking new. 
     Spiritually it was an interesting ride in 2011. I left a group that I had been working with right before I would have taken my dedication. The high priestess was making it quite clear that she did not like me and that I was no longer wanted around the group. She was my original teacher and honestly she really didn't teach much. She was ignorant in a lot of ways now that I look back, she really had no clue about how other spiritual beliefs worked. The parting was not mourned, the labels were gone and I was free from her dogma. Of course that left me with a whole lot of "where do I go from here" setting in. So I did the only thing I could do: decided I was a spiritual fool at heart and combined my Buddhism beliefs and Pagan beliefs. It will be a while before I join another group, I need this time to be on my own. I recently joined ADF again and will probably go through their Dedicant program this year. Of course this parting is what gave me the inspiration to do my 365 Day Spiritual Practice Challenge which starts on January 1st! 
     With all of this upheaval and family drama that is not worth taking up precious space here, I have gone back to art and learning to work with mixed media. Making jewelry is always going to be a creative outlet for me, but there is something about paint, paper, gel medium, collage and all that good stuff that helps spiritually and mentally. I have joined up on "Book of Days" which is going to be fabulous and I am very excited to be taking part. I also joined "52 Playdates" which is going to be fun. I can't do "Life Book"  simply because money is too tight right now. I have joined some awesome art groups on Facebook and I am meeting all kinds of wonderful mixed media artists that hopefully I can learn from. Art wise it is going to be a stellar year. 
     2012 is going to be a (hopefully) busy and prosperous year. I have a lot going on and even more to accomplish and do. There is a lot for me to explore and do and I intend to do all of it. My word for the year is  BELIEVE. That is all I need for 2012. Believe.       

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No Time Like the Present

     So I have decided to put the shop on a small hiatus so that I can do new pictures and make it look fresh and inviting. I also have a jam packed year so far for 2012 with art and spiritual challenges that I am going to be focusing on. I would really like to sell the jewelry that I have in the shop before I make anymore. I got a new digital camera for a Christmas present and it takes really decent pictures so I can re-do all the pictures. That is going to be a time consuming job which is why I think putting the shop on vacation will take the added pressure off. 
     I am really excited about the upcoming Book of Days project! I've got the cover and my inside page done and being a total newb at this I'm happy with my journal so far. I know I am going to learn a lot as I go along, and I am very excited about that because I am going to try some of these techniques with making jewelry. Plus I am going to document my spiritual practice challenge in my art journals. That is going to tie in nicely with everything that I am doing in the new year. I figure I might as well jump in with both feet like a typical Aries and run with it! 
     I need to find my niche at Etsy as far as my jewelry goes. There are so many sellers and I would say just about all of them make beautiful stuff. I look at the competition and go, "yeah, I don't stand a chance". I need to re-focus and branch out a little. Having a shop full of stuff that doesn't sell isn't going to start the new year off right. Re-inventing yourself is a good thing and sometimes necessary. This new year is going to be all about believing and change, and there is no time like the present to start! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

On the Horizon

   So the new year is going to bring in new challenges and projects. There are two projects that I am very excited to be taking part in in the new year. One is called "Book of Days 2012". This is a full year of both journaling and art journaling. What I am really liking about this project is that it combines both the spiritual and the creative art into one. For me designing and creating is a very spiritual process, when I am designing jewelry it puts me in a Zen state of mind, literally nothingness. I have always been an avid journaler, from the time I was a teenager. Doing Book of Days is going to be insightful and I get to really go in-depth with another form of creativity. I will post the work that I create here to keep everyone updated. 
    The other challenge that I am doing I came up with on my own. It is called the "365 Day Spiritual Practice Challenge". This is one that I have come up with on my own. With this challenge I am going to work on my own personal spiritual practice, or path, for the entire year. I am going to be keeping a journal and probably a workbook of what I do. Since I am both Pagan and Buddhist my goal is to lay down a solid spiritual foundation that will grow. My Buddhist studies are moving along and I have taken refuge and the precepts. My Pagan side has languished a little bit since my removal from a group that I was studying with. I want to change that and the best way to do it is with this challenge. I figure if I challenge myself it will keep me going and I will move beyond the space that I am in now. I am going to be posting my progress over at my other blog, The Spiritual Fool. If you want to join me feel free! The only requirement is to have a journal that you can write in and to do something spiritual on a daily basis. It can be as simple as lighting a candle and sending out peace and happiness to all sentient beings. 
    New challenges for the new year have me buzzing with positive energy and I can't wait to share all of the progress I make with everyone! May your new year be just as challenging and rewarding!     

Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Year, New Focus

    The hardest part about pulling together a business is sticking with it when it gets tough. I plan on revamping the shop with the down time that I have now. I need to take new pictures and re-tag. I need to get a plan together and really knuckle down and put it out there. I plan on starting another jewelry line in the new year. This one is going to be different from Tribe Zen. It is going to have a darker, gothy, steampunk feel to it. I have narrowed down a name and I'm excited about it. I have many ideas pounding around in my head, being a spiritual creative I tend to see things in my head first. My focus is to get both businesses running and making them full time jobs. Not an easy thing to do in this economy and there is quite a bit of competition on etsy. So I plan on building up a strategy and working non-stop. 
     I got a boost of confidence with what I have managed to sell so far, and with the shop only being opened for a little over a month that is not bad. The hard part is keeping momentum and building a customer base. I have to look at what I make and try to make it stand out from everyone else's. Jewelry is not easy to sell and I know this. But with the right amount of build up and work I can make it happen. I am going to use all the resources I can to get Tribe Zen out there. That in itself is a full time job! And adding the second line is going to keep me busy! I know there is a niche for what I make, it is just putting it out there and finding the right buyers. I intend to do just that and make Tribe Zen grow into something successful.   

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holidays and Staying Focused

     Usually this time of year it gets crazy with stress. Just trying to not have a melt down is trial in itself. Add to that I just opened my shop on Etsy in October after losing my temp position that I had been in since July. 

No added pressure! 

     Running a small specialized shop on Etsy is a lot of work. Over this past weekend I have been spending most of my time promoting, learning how to use tools, and networking only to have Black Friday give me one sale. For most sellers that I talk to  this Black Friday was extremely slow and there wasn't a whole lot of sales made. So in that sense I see my one sale as a good start considering my shop has only been open for a month. Today is Cyber Monday so I am hoping to get a few more sales. 

     The holidays are always crazy and stress-filled so I have to make sure that I stay one step ahead. For me I will meditate for at least a half hour and then go create. I find my center and I find my stress level goes down when I do this. Being creative there is an outlet there to let go of a lot. I have to stay focused on building my shop and making my own success. Etsy is filled with so many talented people that it can be hard to stand out. Especially this time of year when everyone is clamoring for sales. I am learning that you have to focus on your own success and making your shop shine in a sea of other boats. Jewelry is a tough field to sell in because there are so many out there. 
     This holiday season I am taking it as my learning experience. I am learning as I go along at what works and what doesn't. Staying focused and stress free is important, I want to make my shop the best it can be. If I am stressed and unfocused it won't work. I am making my plan as I go and I know it will come together.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Spiritually Creative

For me being creative comes from a spiritual place. I have been making and designing jewelry for well over ten years now and I decided to get back into it recently. I have an etsy shop where I am selling my jewelry and so far it has been slow. Being the new kid on the block it is to be expected. My mission is not lose the real meaning behind why I create: because it is being spiritual for me. I get into my Zen side when I making a piece and it brings an inner peace that I can't explain. In Buddhism we want to find out livelihood, what brings us happiness and what we can do to make all beings happy. Creating jewelry for me is what makes me happy and can make others happy. 

Creativity isn't something you are just "born" with, it is inside of all of us. You just have to dig deep and find it. Being creative is just another side of you and you would be surprised to find how spiritually satisfying it can be.