Tag Archive: intensive journaling

Feb 12

Give Me a Break!

Being a disciple of The Artist’s Way means I write “Morning Pages”; a free-flowing, unedited series of pages in which I dump my brain on to at least 3 pages of handwritten musing.  Today’s musing concerned what I’ve come to understand about asking life to “give me a break”.

Almost every time in my life that I have uttered (or screamed) those words, no real break was forthcoming.  I’ve made this plea, at one time or another, to family members and employers, to lovers and friends, to life in general, and to God.  Rarely did I experience the receiver of my petition saying, “You know, Debra, you’re right.  I should give you a break.  Here you go”.  Nope.  My demand for “you” to “give” me a break usually landed of deaf ears.

And then I discovered what may very well be the reason.  I started from the false premise that I needed you to be the giver of whatever solution I sought.  I do need you – for a lot of things – but when I need a “break” – it turns out that I need to give it to myself. And, even if others wanted to give me a break, none can do so completely.

If we are arguing, you are most likely going to stand your ground, continue to try to prove your point or to somehow make me see the issue your way.  If we are arguing, I am very likely to take the same stance from my point of view.  If I need “a break” from that argument, you are not in a position to give it to me.  I must provide my own solution.  Ironically, in this scenario, my solution seems to be to give YOU a break.  To consider your point of view as equally valid as my own, whether I agree or not.  When I do so, my own internal tension subsides and the “break” I seek begins.

debra linker, painting, acrylic, flora, flower, lotus,

Uncertain Times

I am an active, energetic, and often intense person. That describes my core.  A side-effect of my personality is to let things spin around in my head (and heart), and, if I am not conscious of it, begin to twist on itself, like a spring being squeezed tighter and tighter.  As I feel the need to demand that something or someone give me a break is the very moment that internal spring is about to be suddenly released from its coil.  If you’ve ever compressed a spring and suddenly let it go – you know the result.  It flies off in some unpredictable direction and if it’s been squeezed tightly enough – it will likely break whatever it encounters.

As I realize that I am the only one who is responsible for giving myself a break, I can reduce the tension on that spring and let it uncoil gently.  The result is always in my favor.  Always.  How, you might ask, do I begin the process of giving myself a break?

Most of my techniques are not news, and all are simple.  Breathing deeply helps.  As does exercise (especially yoga).  Routine healthy nourishment reduces the frequency of my internal coil tightening.  Journaling.  Meditating.  Talking with a friend.  All things we hear suggested as stress relievers.  But for me – and this is the point of today’s monologue – the biggest thing is to REMEMBER to GIVE MYSELF a break, and to stop looking for that from some external source.  Just the very words, “Debra, give yourself a break” seem to trigger the beginning of the relief I seek.  Just that.  Remembering that it is MY job to give myself a break.  And reminding myself that I do, indeed, deserve one.


Feb 11


Passionate PIMA SOLD

Want to know more about why journaling is so important – take this Intensive Journaling class!

It’s often early – very early.  My internal alarm clock seems to prefer a 5:30 a.m. setting, even on weekends.  First things first:  coffee.  And then, when I am faithful, I settle in for a round of Morning Pages – or perhaps you would recognize it as “journaling“.  Yes, writing.  Yes, with an actual pen on actual paper.  And yes, ambiance is a vital part of my process.

I have a favorite place – my sofa, in a room with large east-facing windows, beautiful plants, and my art on the walls.  This sofa has held me through many tortured writings, let me lie in the arms of its plush pillows as I’ve cried, held my friends as they’ve told me of their dreams and sins, and supported me through heart-ache and long nights watching Hell’s Kitchen and Hugh Dillon (Yum!).  It is my place of refuge.  It is the place where, when I am done torturing myself with insecurities and self-doubts, I can launch in to my day of creative living…or try to.

As well as the ambiance of the room, I have a few other requisite items that add to the depth and holiness of intensive journaling.  No, it’s not (necessarily) zen music and candles (although that never hurts).  These items are practical; but while they are at it, they must also be beautiful, preferably artistic and hand made, hopefully purchased locally, or from an independent business.  My journaling must haves are:  coffee mug, journal (with handmade paper when life is really good!), and writing instruments.

Here are a few of my favorites, with links to the creators’ websites – which I hope you will visit and be inspired to shop.  You’ll find I am routinely promoting indy-artisans.  They are, after all, my favorite kind of people!

Etsy - ArtistsLoftPpaquin1

Picasso Style Coffee Mug

You’ll find this mug at Patricia Paquin’s Etsy shop for $37 (until it’s sold!).  I have a wide range of coffee mugs – this is not one I own – YET!  I like her sassy style.



Journals – this is where I would go broke if discipline didn’t reign me in!

Etsy - WeeBindery - DL


This beautiful journal is one I purchased from WeeBindery (also an Etsy shop).


While exploring other journal makers for this article, I found a few places to refer to you that literally made my heart sing!  Look at these!

Artisan Graham Journal 1





Handsome, bold, strong!  (Some of the things my dreams are made of!)  This journal is made by Artisan Graham of Montana.  Their journals can be purchased here.



Bibliographica Journal 2





Louise, of Bibliographica, an Auckland, New Zealand artisan, made this unique journal that is creative and sexy and on the very top of my wish list!







Etsy - PaperUlixis Mini Notebooks



Leather journals are not my only recommendations!  I often refer artisans whom I just simply adore them, and anything they make.  PaperUlixis is one of my favorites for mini-journals.   Her work is sweet and sassy, smart and fun, pretty and functional … and that pretty much describes Uli.



I can personally recommend the craftsmanship and excellent shopping experience of buying hand-crafted pens from Jen’s Pens (as I own several and love them!).

Etsy - JensPens - DL

And now – for the part of intensive journaling that actually matters the most to me (well, with the possible exception of the coffee) – handmade paper.  Who doesn’t love the feel of a pen or pencil scratching across the hills and valleys of gentle lumps in the paper?  Who doesn’t watch ink spread just a little as the fiber soaks it in like a thirsty desert plain engulfing spring rain?  Who doesn’t hesitate, for just a moment, before they scar their sacred words across the clean cloth of a pristine page?  Who doesn’t crave journaling just so they can jot their private lunacy on hand made papers?  Come on.  I know it is not just me!

Cate Robbins is a brilliant artist and teacher (visit her website and class schedule).  She also makes some of the finest, most creative collages I’ve ever seen.  I love, love, love her work!  Check out this journal (and she has lots more at Robbinsart on Etsy).

Etsy - Cate Robbins Thoughts Journals

She paints, she teaches, she collages, she makes journals, she has family and a farm, and STILL, she finds the time and energy to make paper!  She is one of my local heroes, for sure!

Etsy - Cate Robbins Paper

Wouldn’t you just love to write your Morning Pages or Dear Diary secrets on this paper?  Wouldn’t it be fun to scribble across the colored dots?  Be careful – your mood and energy might just increase enough to bounce you right off the sofa … and in to your day of Creative Living!