Tuesday, April 27, 2010

She was rare and she is gone and how can spirit like hers live on

It's a staycation day today and I caught this story on CNN's home page about blogging the end of a life, about Eva Markvoort. Seeing this changed my day. Maybe the rest of this year. Maybe my future.

Eva had cystic fibrosis and she died a month ago at age 25 while waiting for a second double lung transplant. Check out her blog, 65_RedRoses. The CNN writer pulled quotes from only the last few posts. I know they're on deadline. But if you don't have a publishing deadline, read further back. I read the whole past year and had to stop at March 27, 2009, fully conscious that Eva didn't know then that this would be the last year of her life. Her whole blog is about her strong spirit, her loves, her will to live. And live fully. She truly seems to have made the most of her year. Last year a movie about her first double lung transplant was released in Canada. I'd love to see this movie run in the United States. If you want to see her movie in the U.S., her family urges you to write the U.S. networks and encourage them to raise visibility about organ donation.

We all have decisions about how to use our time, no matter how much or how little time we have. I've been grappling with these decisions "front and center" lately.

I was supposed to attend a free seminar in Chicago today but it's a pain in the a** to drive into the city or even to find parking to take the train. I decided to do online training instead and use the transportation time gained spraying this afternoon to get the dandelions on our 1.5 acres under control before they go to seed in a matter of days. Got 3 containers of Weed B Gone concentrate for a murderous rampage in the sunshine.

I never got to the online training. Instead, reading Eva's blog created a life seminar of sorts for me today. It brought clarity, led me to decisions. I usually get led to decisions through inspirations from others. Serendipity usually leads me to these inspirations and I know enough now to perk up and pay attention when my gut says this is about to happen.

My decision struggle about time has been going on for a year, since my husband launched his business and needs skills that I have but have been reluctant to give in adundance. Even though we'd both benefit. I looked at it as work. I already have a full-time job and trying to work on marketing and communications for his business, even though I love doing those things, is a second full-time job. During the times when I have given my all for weeks at a time for his business, I'm exhausted. I've never been certain, though, if the exhaustion was due to the mental effort (which I don't shy away from) or due to my attitude. I hate to admit it might have been my attitude, but maybe I'll need to admit that. Not ready yet though. Ha.

I believe it is true that we can wear ourselves into the ground with negativity that comes from nothing but our own thoughts. (and having been treated for depression much of my life, currently very successfully so that's not my issue right now, I know what that's like and what I speak of here is not the seriousness of clinical depression, it's garden variety "poor me" negativity) We have the choice of how to respond to what happens around us, what happens to us. I saw while reading Eva's blog for a few hours today how she chose to respond to her decline leading to her impending death. Sure, she video-recorded her moments of frustration and rage, but even those moments seemed to be more for her reader's benefit than hers, like she was trying all along to leave us with something positive.

In contrast, my challenge is some work-related tasks which has no comparison to facing the imminent end of my life sooner than I'd want. Now I feel very ungraceful and ungracious about how I've been conducting my life lately.

I value inspiration, highly. I have for much of my life chosen to seek inspiration, as a very visual person, through visual means. Admittedly, that often tends to lead to a materialistic focus as many of my posts here have been. Things, fabrics, patterns, putting these things together. I enjoy that and make no apologies for it. That play is a necessity of my life as much as I need water and air.

Eva was obviously talented with artistic flair and communicating a message and feeling (apparent in this video which shows a year of her life and contrast that with this video). When you scroll through her blog and her videos you can see what talent she had at projecting feeling through the camera.

She didn't keep her talents to herself. She shared, for the whole world to see, even as she died.

Thinking about this led to clarity in which direction I should take with my time, and how I should think about what I'm doing. My conflict has been in not being able to rectify my need for visual stimulation and creativity, with a call for my skills and time for my husband's business. I've indulged my visual interests with hobbies including sewing. Including on here.

I will be doing less online and less indulging through hobbies.

Instead, what I realized is, I can choose to change how I look at fulfilling this need with the call for some tasks that must be done now. A big-time investor is stepping into the business. My time to step up is now. This doesn't have to be incompatible with what I want to do. I once loved running a catalog business we had back in the 90s. I loved the design, the marketing. I loved the challenge of understanding the customer and writing for the customer. I can channel that need for creativity into marketing and communications for the business. And it's not just my husband's business, it's ours if we are partners in marriage. Why should I hold back from what I can do for it, because I want to piddle my time "relaxing" online? It doesn't help us. It doesn't have to be work -- the catalog business wasn't "work," why am I making this into "work?"

I have a quality where I don't like to be told what to do. But I will happily do the exact same thing if I choose to do it myself. What's with that? But it's true.

So I am choosing to give of my talents and skills to our business, to seek my love of creativity and visual inspiration and apply it to marketing a business that sells analytics products. Whaaa? Creative opportunity in statistics and analytics? Is this possible? Absolutely!! I've already been doing it, you'd be amazed at how visual metaphors and similes help people connect with an idea that they might not immediately understand. We aren't marketing to statisticians, we're marketing to "roll up your shirtsleeves" sales folks. I'm sitting in a spot where I see both sides and can connect them. I need to embrace my enjoyment in helping people to see these things. I do love to do that.

It's clear that is my calling right now.  (after I kill the dandelions though!!)

I will check in here periodically to post not ideas and inspiration anymore, but to share and review the sewing projects that I actually complete. There won't be many. I will be busy.

But I will be busy being honest with myself. And truly finding how to align what I need with what must be done right now. The two are not incongruent as I previously thought. It's all very clear now. I am alive and here and have much to give and it's time to give it and enjoy doing it at the same time. I hope this serves as inspiration in itself, for others who may be facing similar struggles.

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