Scattered and Sad

Do you ever have those days when it feels like your brain just isn’t functioning?

I feel like that today. I can’t find the motivation to start anything. I have my list, but here I am, staring at it blankly, not knowing where to start.

And I don’t even really feel like fixing it. I’m just feeling sad. I’m not going to go into why, and I don’t even know if I can pinpoint any one thing. Is it just me, is there something in the stars, is it the weight of the world? I don’t know. It’s not a really dark feeling, but it’s definitely not a cheery one!

So, what to do?

I’m not sure I have the answers, but here I am writing. Clearly, writing my thoughts and either keeping them private or sharing them can help. I don’t do morning pages, which is an exercise in stream of consciousness that is touted as beneficial by many. I’m sure it is, just not for me. I have a difficult time writing without a specific purpose other than just to let my thoughts flow. I’d rather just…stare at a wall and let my mind be empty.

It’s so uncomfortable when you’re feeling disconnected. I know it’s not a forever thing, that it will pass.

My personality is heavy on the dreamer side of things, so when I am feeling foggy, sad, with no motivation it’s pretty similar to depression. Someone posted something about depression the other day, and played with the word changing it into “deep rest.” (Apologies to whomever came up with this, I can’t remember where I saw it.)

I want some deep rest! I want to curl up, stay inside, drink some delicious hot coffee and watch Russian Doll on Netflix. I’d love to see a friendly face. I’d love to hear some reassuring words, or read an unexpected message.

BUT, dear sweet fellow humans, here I am. I’m not hibernating, which is what my soul truly craves. I will just start ticking things off my list. I’ll go slowly. I’ll do the ones that aren’t that fun first. Or not. We’ll see how the day goes, I’m giving it up to the universe. I can rest this evening, I have the place to myself tonight because my love is out of town working.

He likes to say (which his mother used to say), “Once begun it's half done.”

Hope you’re having a brighter day than me!

xxxC

The Cold

It’s been frigid in our corner of the world. I mean frigid. Temperatures reaching lower than -45 Celsius with the windchill. Don’t ask me to explain windchill, but it’s real, and it’s cold.

Being a winter lover in general, I love cold, crisp winter air. This kind of cold though, is bitter, brittle. You feel it on your skin as soon as you hit the outdoors. If you’re not dressed for it, you’ll get frostbite. It’s part of living up here in the North.

So what’s good about cold? What’s good about winter?

  1. There’s less crime. Crime statistically drops during winter, and drops even more the more brutal the weather gets. It makes sense. Who wants to be skulking in an alleyway waiting to jump someone in -45?

  2. More cuddle time with your person. When it’s too cold to go out, we hunker down at home with our pets and our people and cuddle up in our comfiest pj’s.

  3. We mostly think of gaining weight in the winter. That extra layer of fat keeps us Northerners warm. However, shivering can actually help you lose weight. True story!

  4. No bugs. (i like a lot of bugs though, bees dragonflies and ladybugs among them)

  5. Colder temperatures have scientifically shown to increase longevity by 20%! No human studies yet, but it’s encouraging if it happens in animals. Right? (I’m trying here)

  6. It’s just pretty. Imagine how many people have never even seen the pure white of a blanket of snow covering the earth. When it’s sunny, it makes everything brighter. In the moonlight, it’s downright magic.

    I’ve loved this winter poem for quite a few years, and it echoes my feelings about the season, so I’m going to leave you with this today. Bundle up in your fancy parka, put on those mukluks and embrace the beauty of the season. Why be miserable about things you can’t control?

    xxx C

    A Winter’s Cloak by Joyce Rupp

    This year I do not want 
    the dark to leave me. 
    I need its wrap 
    of silent stillness, 
    its cloak 
    of long lasting embrace. 
    Too much light 
    has pulled me away 
    from the chamber 
    of gestation. 

    Let the dawns 
    come late, 
    let the sunsets 
    arrive early, 
    let the evenings 
    extend themselves 
    while I lean into 
    the abyss of my being. 

    Let me lie in the cave 
    of my soul, 
    for too much light 
    blinds me, 
    steals the source 
    of revelation. 

    Let me seek solace 
    in the empty places 
    of winter’s passage, 
    those vast dark nights 
    that never fail to shelter me.

Busy is the new stupid...great.

This meme has been circulating the internet. I saw it and had an immediate visceral reaction.

“Are you calling me stupid?” I sneered to my screen.

The thing is, everybody’s busy. I used to say that to my violin students when they would make excuses for not practicing. We’re all busy. Even if you’re unemployed for a time, even if you’re retired, the days get filled with DOING STUFF.

We do a lot of stuff. 

Yes, I’m busy. I go through my days accomplishing so many tasks that it makes my own head spin, let alone anyone else’s. 

So how does one just BE? For me, having time to simply exist is the way I empty my mind, or download energy, or recharge, or however you like to express the art of doing nothing.

La dolce far niente.

I LOOOOOOOOVE doing nothing. I love having nothing to do…but not for long. It needs to be just long enough to give me energy enough for the next day or task, but not too long that it makes me start feeling depressed. This is usually one day max. More than one day, and I start to sink into a dark feeling of incompetence, laziness and procrastination. Why?

Because nothing is ever really done. Sure, I can tick things off my list, check them off, feel the satisfaction of a thing done, but guess what? Another one pops up. It’s dynamic, it’s never-ending. It’s the process of living, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.

And this is where “going with the flow” comes in. It sounds flaky. The flow, for me, is the process. The process of living, of doing things, of not doing things. 

I recently attended a retreat for female entrepreneurs and was reminded of when I was still practicing as a nurse, and the shift would begin with a shortage of staff. Our patient load increased, and everyone knew it was going to be a really busy day. I learned, from nursing, that when I had a mountain of tasks ahead of me, being frantic and miserable was not going to help me nor the situation, and most importantly the patients. Similarly, if you’re practicing a passage of music, every musician knows that practicing it slowly is the key to getting to that Vivace. You can’t just play it over and over at a speed that isn’t under your fingers and expect progress. So what do I do? I go s-l-o-w-e-r. What, you say? That doesn’t make sense, you say.

*edit (and, I guess, I really learned that from music, and brought it to my nursing practice. that’s a sweet epiphany.)

It does, though. This is what happens when you go slower when you are super busy: you become present with every task that you do. Usually, it all gets done, and when it doesn’t, at least you’re not bringing frantic energy to it, making mistakes, and having to go back and correct them. You have the presence of mind to prioritize. You get it done. It’s almost like magic.

So, I’m going to change that meme to:


Frantic is the new stupid. Busy is good, and I like it.

xxx C

Golden compass?

Greetings!

Beginning in the last quarter of 2018, I’ve been researching designers from across Canada, and I have reached out to many. One Sky began with the intent to feature artists and artisans from here in Northern Ontario, but it’s time to branch out. I remain devoted to our fine artists here in the North, and I remain open to receiving new work from our corner of the world. We have so much talent here, and I reserve space in the boutique for our Northern artistry.

Searching for the best designers in Canada could be, in itself, a full time job. I come across so many luxurious and beautiful brands on a daily basis, it’s overwhelming.

How do I choose? I have a criteria.

Is it beautiful?

If something appeals to me, I then bring it to my staff, who are considerably younger. I trust their judgement and aesthetic and look to them for advice. I also trust my own taste.

Is it purposeful?

Purpose for me doesn’t end at an item that is used for everyday function. It also means I can wear it, or I can gaze at it and appreciate it’s beauty (like fine art). It means that it elevates my space or life in some meaningful way.

Is it within my means?

I ask myself if I would purchase the item myself. If I love it enough to wish to own it, and am I willing to make the investment to have it.

Is it unique?

If the items can be found anywhere, why would I consider having it in my boutique? I love treasures that you don’t see everywhere you go.

Does it look nice on my shelf?

If it’s a health and beauty product, I want it to look nice as much as the next person. I care about packaging, and prefer glass over plastic.

Is the quality proven?

You can tell almost immediately if a company is ready to be showcased, and if their product is high quality. Small batch companies have no issue listing all of their ingredients. A firm policy of One Sky is to carry all natural products. We try everything that comes into One Sky so we can get behind it. I’m always asking for feedback from customers as well.

Does it complement the brands that One Sky already carries?

I do my best to carry products that don’t overlap with other lines. Sometimes they do, and that’s ok because it’s also nice to have a choice. There are subtle differences in the products if they are of the same ilk.

Is the price reasonable?

Most of the products carried at One Sky are on par, and many times less, than what one would pay at a major pharmacy or jewelry shop. What’s more, our pricing reflects each company’s prices. If they are sometimes a little higher than on the brand’s website, the price ends up being the same as it would be with shipping. I don’t mark up items unfairly.

I make my selections based on this criteria, and as I expand into the North, South, East and West of Canada, I am meeting so many exciting designers and makers who are highly skilled and passionate about what they do, and I am proud to offer them to you.

Most importantly, the finest handmade, original Northern and Canadian brands and artists is what One Sky is all about, and shall remain.

C

New Year, New Gallery......same me.

One Sky has gone through many changes since opening in May of 2017. Originally, there were two of us. That changed in December of 2017, and became only me. This is my first blog ever, so please be patient.

My name is Cristina, and I own and operate One Sky gallery boutique. The initial vision of One Sky was to feature fine art and fine curated handmade products made by people of the North. Since then, it has evolved. I still have many of the “day one” artists and artisans. Some have gone, some have stayed. There are always new and exciting creative souls approaching One Sky, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Opening a business is not new to me. I’ve had a few. Being my own boss suits me. It’s not for everyone, even though many may think it is. Sometimes I dream about going to work and leaving, knowing that everything is done and I can enjoy the rest of the day or evening. Not so with a small business of any kind. It’s on your mind 24/7. It even takes your dream life when you’re asleep sometimes! It takes a pretty serious amount of guts. Bricks and mortar is a big risk. I recently visited my daughter in Toronto, and noticed how many shops have come and gone since I lived there. There are stalwarts, though, that stay. I will do everything in my power to make One Sky one of them. And I am a stubborn Italian.

Seeing my father build an empire from nothing gives me my determination. Having a dragon lady visionary as a mother gives me my drive. I was born for it. The risk, the chance, the opportunity, the constant change. I am an entrepreneur.

It feels good to say that. In the past, I have diminished myself to suit others, to make them feel bigger. So many times! I project an air of confidence, but let me tell you, that has been cultivated. I have worked at it. I am naturally so shy that I would hide behind my mother as a child. I turned my back on audiences at Suzuki violin recitals as a little girl. Many people have told me that they were intimidated by me at first because of the look on my face. I’ll let you in on a little secret: that look is fear. Of you! I don’t particularly like or need to be the centre of attention, but life thrust me into it. Life said, “Too bad, Crissy. You’re not a wallflower.”

I’m ok with it now, as long as I get my time alone to recharge. In busy seasons, my eyes get so tired. Not from doing a bunch of things, but from so much interaction with people. It can drain me to the bone. I am thankful for the slower times, like now in January, when I can focus on other things rather than customer after customer. It’s a welcome break.

So what am I focusing on?

One Sky’s online shop. It’s been a long time coming, and I didn’t want to jump into it until the model made sense to me. I had an epiphany back in November as to how I would work it. It’s being put into action now, and it feels pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good (thanks Larry David).

I’m also focusing on learning Beethoven’s Ghost Trio, which I will perform in the spring, date TBA.

I think that’s enough for my very first blog ever. Thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to writing more in 2019.

C

Portrait of me by Richard Greene

Portrait of me by Richard Greene