September 2016

September 2016
Notes to an old friend, on my turning 70:

 

I am what I am.

I’ll be honest about it now.

No point in faking anything.

Kate Bowditch looks at being 70

Looking at 70

 

I am all that I am,

Forget what I’m not.

I love what I am.

 

I don’t have a career to build.

No endless years to do it in.

I’ll enjoy all that I do have.

 

I go to more funerals now; so I’m alive!

I am free to love everyone and every

Day around me.

 

Nobody cares how much I know.

I don’t have to tell them.

I enjoy all that I do know.

 

I’m never going to be famous.

I can finally forget it.

I enjoy everything I do now.

sunlight and waterfalls for Kate Bowditch

One moment of sunlight

 

I can love and enjoy every day,

Everything and everyone.

This I know deeply, now.

 

Oh, I forgot! Nobody cares what I know.

 

So, HEY!!  Let’s laugh at the clouds, you and I!

Let’s walk in tall grass; sit by the river.

Let’s have a beer and enjoy ourselves today!!

Best friends forever with Kate Bowditch and her team.jpg

Ain’t we great?

 

Kate

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How to Reduce Anxiety

How to Reduce Anxiety

Sitting quietly in the living room, I became aware of myself. Anxiety had settled gently upon my shoulders, like dust. Anxiety entered my ears and nose, seeped like water into my skin…. Anxiety, with no target, no goal or itemized list with which to fight it.Fear to Respect for Kate Bowditch.jpgHaving a list would make it easy. Oh, I’m not getting this or that done in time for the whatever event. That’s easy. Or, maybe it’s time to clean the gutters and there is a threat of rain. Simple.

No. Anxiety, for me, is foggy and ill defined. It is too vague to schedule or to grasp.  I am exhausted in its face, unable to make my own schedule. I cannot attack anxiety’s hidden requirements. There is no list. No program. I have just failed, that’s all.

When anxiety wraps itself around me, I freeze. I cannot even think. I’d love to be able to say to myself, “Well, here we go again–how many of my friends have this experience! I’ll call someone and feel better soon!”

No. I am alone. Anxiety stalks the alone ones. I cannot move. Maybe I’ll die of cancer before dawn, the tree will fall on the house, all the bills will be due a week early.

Forget sleep.crescent moon

 

 

 

This time, however, THIS time, I saw it. It was daylight…I was aware. I recognized anxiety’s ways. I became impatient with it.

I reached out my hand, took one of my own drawings and began to color. The studies are in that coloring is truly calming to the nerves. Now, I love to draw coloring book pages, but have not done coloring. I’ve done a few paintings in my time. Coloring? I have turned away from that.

This time, I said, “Walk your talk, girl. Walk your talk.” So I began to color.

I laid out the pencils and settled into my chair, whining a little about “wasting time.” I began. I colored. My mind became more and more aware of the little squares, wavy places, borders, flowers, disks and leaves in my drawing. Color rose up from the page, tickling the back of my eyes and mind. I laid some glitter on a gray place, put yellow into the green and watched it leap to life.Summer Colors 2My breathing became regular and soothing.  My shoulders relaxed. My mind focused upon the details of the drawing, following the lines as they wandered about the page before me.

And then is was dinner time.  I arose, made dinner, ate dinner, chatted with my honey, and went back to coloring as the Mariners beat the other team at baseball. The sound of the game became a sweet backdrop to the coloring as I shared the space and the game.

Anxiety, with no home to stay in, had left. It didn’t even say goodbye! It was just gone…

I have colored a couple of my drawings now, and am interested in the many techniques that other Colorists use. I have collected finished colorings from others who like to color my drawings, and have begun a Gallery to display them.

Am I free forever from Anxiety, now? No. I fully expect to feel anxiety’s seductive wrap again and again in my life. I have a new tool, however. Now I can shove it back out the front door of my mind. I can ignore anxiety completely. Once ignored, anxiety cannot stay—it seeks attention too strongly, and will float elsewhere.

And that is fine with me!

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Divorce, Parents, and Then What?

This video has been around a while….a small child with a heavy burden, and some great wisdom. She says what we wish could be…

Is this about you in any way? I know myself by the itch I feel when watching this.

Some questions to ask yourself:

Who is the one you need to keep in the “wrong” position?

Who is the one you fear will be seen by others as “better” than you?

Who is the one who just might leave and take all your friends?

What is the behavioral pattern you enter when they are around you?

There is only one person you need to prove yourself to: Yourself.

What if………Imagine:

  • You don’t rise to the challenge.
  • You don’t respond in anger or defensiveness.
  • You don’t prove to anyone that you are more the interesting, better, funnier, wiser, nicer, cooler, wittier, smarter, etc, than the other. Not even to yourself.
  • Imagine.

HINT: Nothing happens. Life goes on. Only YOU are different. You become stronger, quieter, more open, centered.

Watch this little girl in her most vulnerable state, saying what is wisdom to her mother, and to all of us.

….   and for a different form of stress release, have you tried your hand at

adult coloring yet?

You have a colorful person inside you, wanting to be expressed, you know….

Just Click Here and join us at the shop!

Color Your World!   Kate

 

 

 

 

 

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The Miracle of Being You, at All!

Years ago, I went off on a tour of the BritishIsles by myself. I flew to Shannon Airport, in Ireland, and then wandered about all of Ireland to Scotland, and then to England. I have many stories to tell, for I did it all by bus and by hitchhiking.

What I didn’t know, was that I was to balance some books in my mind about my family’s origins, and about just who I was.

I’d heard all about my father’s side of the family…coming from a place called Holditch Court, England; now in ruins. They came to the new land early, for they were poor and had nothing to lose.

Hot on their heals came my mother’s family. I knew nothing of that side, as only the men’s stories were told when I was young.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself in front of a large, low home out in the English countryside…looking a little like a Kincaid painting. It had a sign: “The Getchells” I knew I was home, whatever that meant.

Both sides of my family came to the “new land” from England, settled, one side North, one side South. Some went “west” the other side didn’t, preferring New England. The two sides fought against each other in the Civil War, and with each other in the Revolution; on the same side again in WW I and II.

Dad met Mom in NYC in 1942, and I am here today. It only took 10,000 years or so to create those two people who would meet and make me, and my siblings!

So what. Well, the “what” is that I often wonder about what it means to say “My Country” or “My People”, or even “I am….”.  Tradition takes time to build, and it takes sticking together, either as a group or in one place.

That didn’t happen with me.

I don’t “have” a country. I live here, but I know my ancestors cut a deep slice to leave their home of thousands of years to come to the East Coast. These distant ancestors only came here 300 years ago…  we are still immigrants.

I don’t have “people” that get together often.  We have met on occasion, and have gotten together at great effort. We don’t share everyday events, though, or even have shared history.

I don’t “have” the “right” way of doing things.  I don’t even “have” a home, in that deep way—I have loved the places I have lived. I have left them, however, and I watched many of them dive under the bull-dozer the day after I left.

I do have the wanderlust of my mother’s side of the family; my love of my family history comes from my father’s side. Somehow, it is comforting to know that I am “like” others in a part of my lineage that I didn’t know about as a child— the Western Girl, the traveler, the explorer, the lover of world cultures.

What about you sets you apart from your known family?  Who would you find to cheer you on, if you looked deeper into your family line? What threads would you pull together from them to weave the rug on which you fly through life?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments….I am curious..

Kate

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Tree Spirits for Earth Day

Yes, Earth Day has come and gone. And the Earth still does her best to support us. I was invited to an open mike Earth Day event on Friday night, and asked to read a story of mine. I chose “The Trees of Taylor Camp”–which I had to rewrite from the original, and to which I have added pictures!

About writing, telling stories or otherwise engaging the attention of others:

Lesson 1: It’s OK and sometimes necessary to junk big wonderful pieces of created work, to make the whole even better. So I did.

Lesson 2: Sometimes, one is better than two. And it is.

Here is my story, first published in its original form in the late, great Circle Magazine.

Taylor Camp Trees

The Trees at Taylor Camp, Kauai.

by Kate Bowditch

You can take the road north out of Kapa’a, on the Island of Kauai.  The island is round, so the road doesn’t go north for long.

Follow it anyway, to its very end.

You will pass through tiny, wonderful towns. You will see jungle. You will see the ocean off one shoulder, with mountain vistas off your other shoulder.

You will pass through a great, arching tunnel of trees, cross one-lane bridges, and marvel at the roosters.

You always see roosters, in Kauai.

IMG_9664

When the road ends, you have arrived at a trail-head, on your left. If you are willing to walk thirteen miles of trail with an open invitation to your early death on the ocean rocks below, you will get to a magical place called the Kalalau Valley.

I didn’t go there.

I lost interest at “thirteen miles,” let alone at “early death”…..so, I looked to the right.

Stretching along the beach, just there, is a deeply tree-filled place once called Taylor Camp.

The sunset is perfect every night here. This space has a history all its own.

This beach and the land behind it were purchased in the 1960’s by one Howard Taylor, resident of Kauai and brother of Elizabeth Taylor. His original purpose was to build himself a home there. That was thwarted by the state, which had other plans for the area.

In anger, Mr. Taylor invited a small group of main-landers who had been jailed for vagrancy, to set up tents on this property.

They accepted.

The group quickly expanded to a fairly large, unrelated population who were part of what was known then as “Hippies”, or “Flower Power” people.

A mostly young, free-thinking group of people grew there. As building permits were denied for any permanent structure connected to the ground, their houses, made of plywood, bamboo and plastic, were built up in the trees that still fill the land near the beach.

The trees held them, sheltered them, and became home to them all.

The place became known as Taylor Camp.

The campers lived there. They worked or didn’t work, gardened, set up public showers and toilets, and had meetings and babies. In general, they lived together in a normal way. They had no police; they did have a non-denominational church.

Apparently, they did not do much fishing. There were orderly trash-pits, and a school.

There weren’t very many clothes…

They lived there, got stoned there, swapped stories there, made music and love…all up in and around the trees. These trees, in turn, shaded and protected them.

It was a strange and glistening moment in our history, when this type of community could happen, and did happen, in Kauai and other places in the US.

The campers are all gone now. The land was turned into a state park, and the people were ousted. Many went back to society and now have kids and grand-kids, barbecues and 401K’s. Some have retirement homes.

Some didn’t return to “proper” society, preferring to float away on its edges.

I could almost hear the sound of the campers from back then as I walked under those trees. Distant voices, too faint to follow.

Those sturdy trees remain.IMG_0990

The ocean’s waves have sucked the sand from under the trees nearest the beach. The trees now perch high on their roots. They link their root-arms for support, dancing like Greek men, just there, on the beach.

I could almost hear a different sound, too. A low laughter, coming from those dancing tree roots.

I felt watched by someone I couldn’t quite see; someone who remembers good times of no care, good humor, and a gentle way of life.

There were Tree Spirits alive in those roots.  I could almost hear their voices.

Three of them have become like old friends since that first visit. They have names now.

There’s Grouch, with his patched eye and general disapproval of life.Kate Bowditch loves Kauai and the Tree Spirits.jpg

There’s Snort, stoned and sucking on his coconut juice.Kate Bowditch loves Tree Spirits and Kauai.jpg

And Mr. Hilarious….

Kate Bowditch loves funny Tree Spirits.jpg

HeeHeeHee

More have revealed themselves to me over time:

 

 

Toothless Wonder, IMG_1018

Charge (the Elephant),Kauai tree spirit at Taylor Camp, elephant

 

the rooster, IMG_1019

 

 

and Little BirdIMG_1020

All, revealing themselves in these roots. Alive and dynamic, they watch us in good humor as our quick lives flicker before them.

Will there be a reunion of the Taylor Camp members? What would that look like?

Who, returning, would call each tree by name?

Who would know exactly where their house had been?

Who would not be sure?

What grandchild would know her way, the first time, to Grandpa’s tree?

And what would the Tree Spirits do at such a reunion?

They would probably laugh, remember when, gather new memories, and continue dancing there, just there, on the beach.

IMG_0902

***Happy Earth.       Day, week, year, eon….

P.S. Get your copy of my drawing of these Tree Spirits, to download and color!, and see my other drawings to color at:   www.etsy.com/shop/adultcoloringhotspot

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Celebrate Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day!

sunlight and waterfalls for Kate Bowditch

One moment of sunlight

Actually, I think it is sort of weirdly funny that we set aside one Earth Day a year to think about the Earth. We are awfully hard on her the rest of the year….

But anyway, we make One Day to say how great it is that we have air to breathe, water to drink, earth to plow, fish in the sea and shelters to huddle under.

And it IS great, isn’t it?

Best friends forever with Kate Bowditch and her team.jpg

Ain’t we great?

I mean, consider what it would be if it all fell apart…. lava everywhere, air blown off into the universe, no place to go, no place to hide.   yikes!

So, I have made a drawing to honor the beloved Earth, that holds us up as well as she does.

You can download it and color it to honor the Earth and all of us on it. CLICK RIGHT HERE and see it/buy it. (It is much sharper in the original than shown here.)

Earth Day SAMPLE

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The Trees of Taylor Camp, Kauai, Revisited

The Trees of Taylor Camp, Kauai, Revisited

Take the road north out of Kapa’a, on the Island of Kauai. It only goes north a little while however, because the island is round. Follow it anyway, to its very end.

You will pass through tiny, wonderful towns. You will see jungle, the ocean, vistas and mountains, a tunnel of trees, more trees, and roosters. Always roosters, in Kauai.

When the road ends, you have arrived at a trail-head, on your left. If you are willing to walk thirteen miles of trail with open invitation to your early death, you will get to a magical place called the Kalalau Valley. I didn’t go there.

I lost interest at “thirteen miles,” let alone at “early death”…..so, when Steve and I arrived the first time some three or four years ago, I looked to the right. Stretching along the coast is a deeply tree-filled place called Taylor Camp.

I will take trees anytime over a thousand-foot drop into the lava filled ocean below.

Although I was unaware of them at the time, my photos from Taylor Camp revealed three tree spirits who showed their faces to my camera. They were so funny that I wrote an article about Taylor Camp*, and the tree spirits. It was published in the now late Circle Magazine.

We returned to Taylor Camp this March.

I was excited. I expected to easily find the three tree spirits that had shown their faces to me in the photos that I had taken on my previous visit three years ago.*

I was disappointed, however. The trees were there. The tree spirits were not. I saw only the roots.

The roots of these trees are amazing in themselves.

They hug each other, intertwining for support and companionship. I was reminded of men in Greek dances— was it Zorba?—their arms on each other’s shoulders.

The sand beneath them has been washed away over many years, by hurricanes and other big storms.

I took some pictures anyway, because the roots of these trees, their history and general beauty are so interesting.
IMG_1012With a wistful sigh, I sat among those roots and thanked the trees for being there, for supporting the people who had lived there long ago, and for feeding my soul.

I asked the tree spirits to come out, to come and say hi. I told them that they were safe with me, that I would see them, and that I loved them.

Someone was listening.

My old friend from before! That grumpy old soul with a patch on his eye, showed

himself to me.   So great to see him!

Kate Bowditch loves Kauai and the Tree Spirits.jpg

And slowly, the others came:

The Elephant.Kauai tree spirit at Taylor Camp, elephant

The Toothless Wonder,IMG_1018

 

 

 

The Bird.IMG_1020

There was a dancing lady, a sloth, and others barely visible unless one were open to seeing them.

I can still hear their laughter.

The lesson was about being open to the wonder all around us. It is there, but only visible when we ask — and allow — ourselves to see it.

Huge waves crashed on the shore, sucking or giving sand. People walked by. Little red-headed birds played among the roots of the trees, ignoring the roosters. One rooster took offense at the dog sharing its sand, and flew up into a tree.

I have never seen a rooster do that!

It was a day of wonders.

* Be sure to read my story: The Trees of Taylor Camp

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The Trees of Taylor Camp, Kauai.

NOTE: I wrote this three years ago, and published it in Circle Magazine, which has now closed its doors. This article, and the one following (not published before) is to help you open your eyes to story, and to the whimsy that sits ready to delight us, when we let it! Be sure to come back for the sequel!

The Trees of Taylor Camp, Kauai

There is a stretch of beach in Kauai attached to Ha’ena Point. This beautiful stretch of ocean-side, where the sunset is perfect every night, has a history all its own.

The beach and land behind it were purchased in the 60’s by one Howard Taylor, a resident of Kauai, and brother to Elizabeth Taylor. His original purpose was to build himself a home there. That was thwarted by the state, which had other plans for the area.

In anger, Mr. Taylor invited a small group of mainlanders who had been jailed for vagrancy, to set up tents on this property. The group quickly expended to a fairly large, unrelated population who were part of what was known then as “Hippies” or “Flower Power” people.

The development and subsequent demise of the community is well documented in books and one movie.  Essentially, a young, free-thinking group grew there. As building permits were denied for any permanent structure connected to the ground, their houses, made of plywood, bamboo and plastic, were build up in the trees that still fill the land near the beach.

The place became known as Taylor Camp.

The campers lived there, worked or didn’t work, gardened, set up public showers and toilets, and had meetings. In general, they lived together in a normal way. They had no police; they did have a non-denominational church.

Apparently, they did not do much fishing. There were orderly trash-pits. There weren’t very many clothes…

They lived there, got stoned there, swapped stories, made music and love…all up in and around the trees there, shaded and protected by the canopy overhead.

The campers area all gone now. The land was eventually turned into a state park and the campers were ousted. Many went back to society and now have kids and grand-kids, barbecues and 401K’s. Some have retirement homes.

Some probably didn’t return to “proper” society, preferring to float away on its edges.

It was a strange and glistening moment in our history, when this type of community could happen, and did happen, in Kauai and other places in the US.

Those sturdy trees remain. While visiting Kauai, my companion took me there for the view and the history.

I could almost hear the sound of the campers from back then as I walked under the canopy. The ocean’s waves have sucked the sand from under the trees nearest the beach. They now perch high on their roots, linking their root-arms for support. I was reminded of men in Greek dances— was it Zorba?—their arms on each other’s shoulders.
IMG_1012
I was drawn to photograph these trees and wonder about the times recorded in their memory.

Tree Spirits live in these roots. They are old, living always in years past. I think roots hold the memory of the trees. I could feel them on the beach there. It was a sense of being watched by someone who remembers good times of no care, good humor, and a gentle way of life.Taylor Camp Trees

Though I could feel them, the Tree Spirits did not show themselves to me until I had returned home with my photos and went to put them up on my computer. There were three of them; old friends certainly, gazing back at me from my screen.

One was drinking from a coconut with two straws. He held it in his mouth and snorted the juice up his nose. One did not quite approve; the other thought it was hilarious.

Can you see them?

Will there be a reunion of Taylor Camp members? What fun that would be! Who would call each tree by name? Who would know exactly were their house was? Who would not be sure?

What grandchild would know her way, first time, to grandpa’s tree? And what would the Tree Spirits do at such a reunion?

They would probably laugh, remember when, and gather new memories.  Just like us.

Kate Bowditch loves Tree Spirits and Kauai.jpg                             The Grouch           Mr. Coconut              It’s just hilarious…

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Whale Watching and Patience!

Grandma’s in the House! 

I’ve been Whale-watching!

Whale watching, I found out, is really about Hoping for Whales, and Wave Watching! (This is a long video. I apologize, but whale watching is not something to be done in a hurry!)

We had a fine day staring at the waves. We were in Kauai, had gambled on the idea of whale-watching, and had the good fortune of going out in a boat that was short a few passengers.

We were granted great, if fleeting, views of dolphins swimming and coming up to breathe. If you listen carefully you will hear the first few dolphins squeaking.

Unfortunately, the armed services were doing sonar testing. So? says I. Well, the captain dropped a microphone over the edge and into the ocean. Nothing. Suddenly, a shreak so loud and so painful we all jumped and covered our ears.

Every few minutes, this shreak split the air. Whales, who can hear for vast distances, were leaving the area as fast as possible. Imagine–they can’t cover their ears!

I was able to see them as they rolled by, but none of the fairly common tail slaps or breaches were happening that day. Pain has a was of focusing the mind!

I am so grateful for the trip. I have only seen the blow of a whale…now I have the blow and the backs.

I am deeply curious about the oceanic societies–the life and mind-set of the hidden ocean creatures with language, deep loving hearts, and minds.

This post isn’t profound, but I do encourage everyone, this summer, to see something entirely new, be somewhere entirely new, and hear something you have never heard before. I’d love to have you write me and tell me what the experience was….

Maybe next time one will breach for me.

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Adult Coloring, Techniques for You!

 

 

Grandma’s in the House!

It’s on beyond pencils!!

Adult coloring techniques. Today it’s about gel-pens and fine tipped markers. Bring your colors to life by going on beyond pencils!

Adult coloring is a wonderful new way to reduce stress and practice mindfulness in our overwhelming world. There are many books with patterns to color…  When you settle down with one of my drawings, you are bringing color to a place I’ve been, or to a place in my mind where I’ve been. I have one FaceBook friend who sends me pictures of his home in Gambia, West Africa….I draw them, too.

It’s fun to color real places and listen to the sounds, or smell the air, while your are coloring…. adultcoloringbookartist.jpg

Seasonal and individual drawings are waiting for you. Themed collections are there too.

I’d love to have your comment on my site. ‘Favorite’ my site, too, and share it with your friends.

I have been a therapist for over twenty years, and an artist for longer than that. I know the benefit of taking that “child within you” by the hand, and leading him or her to a calm and delightful coloring-together time. Remember when?  Above is a picture of me at my desk making a drawing. You add the color….so easy..

Stress

Adult Coloring is relaxing, unifying, peaceful and just plain satisfying. I have found, over the years as a therapist, that stress is at the root of (or is a product of) most of our concerns, worries, and woes in our lives.  I have wondered how to help resolve just that one issue for the many many people who come see me.

Adult Coloring is so right: form a group, color alone, color with background music, or not, outside or inside. There is no right or wrong way to color.

I am so very very happy to have found a method of bringing stress relief and mindfulness to the world through my own drawing talent!

You can visit my ‘shop’ on ETSY.com: Go there, search for Adult Coloring Hotspot once you get to Etsy.

More fun than that: just click here and add your email to see the things I do. (I won’t do much with your email…I’ll just let you know about what I’m doing, and give you a first peek at new things. )

Please ‘favorite’ my shop, send it to friends, and be sure to pick up your St. Patrick’s Day or Easter, or Spring Equinox drawings!

I will be opening a new website entirely devoted to Adult Coloring and Stress Reduction in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned right here for the new address!!

To a stress-free YOU …          Kate

P.S. The only way to get free samples is to leave me your e-mail! 

 

 

 

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