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  • Writer's pictureCamp Goldston Publishing, LLC

Energies, by Christine "Liz" Larue

Updated: May 3, 2023

Image: Christine "Liz" Larue

How are we spending our precious time today? It is challenging to come out of a three-year pandemic where we have lost so much. We have lost loved ones, jobs, and our nerves from ongoing health scares of this or that variant. We lose our minds whenever we enter the grocery store and see eggs are; HOW MUCH? Whaddya mean there are high metals in my favorite chocolate bar??? Why isn't my child's infant formula readily available? Or what latest crazy crime scenario has hit the airwaves, streets, or politics? Or you get the phone call, "Mom, can you pick me up in 15 minutes?!!"...and you just got home.

Don't you feel exhausted by all of this day after day?

During these insanely tumultuous times, we must learn to spend our energies and rejuvenate ourselves. Yet, so often, we are so busy caring for our loved ones - grandma, aunty, grandpa, child, teenager, grocery shopping, getting the car fixed, planning a bus route, running an errand for the office or our church or temple or we really breathe deeply or ever relax?

If we try to feed others around us from a cup with nothing in it, no wonder we are snappish. Our families suffer from our brittle moods. As a result, we don't get the restorative sleep we truly need.

Now is the time to start thinking about how we spend our energies and recharge ourselves. It starts with monitoring how much news and social media we take in. If you bombard your head with all the horrible stories of the day, how does your brain get to rest? If your friend is always doing something dangerous or irritating - are you truly getting the "friendship sustenance" you need to grow? When was the last time you did something for fun for yourself, for your family?

Just taking a short 15 - 20 minute break for yourself can help. Turn off the TV, radio, and music on your phone. One friend I know collects her family's cell phones and tablets, puts them in a basket, and it's hands off for an hour. The family goes to their respective corners to entertain themselves with non-technical things. Or the family might gather to make dinner together to be creative. Give everyone a task to do. Seven-year-old Suzy can tear up lettuce for a salad. Her ten-year-old brother can bread the chicken while Mom cuts up veggies. Dad or grandparent can set the table or even make a run for burgers while the family makes the side dishes.

Too often in families, we focus so much on keeping everyone busy we forget to do things together and relax. We also don't practice different activities together where we're not underfoot. Instead, we all need to breathe together and separately, doing something tried and true or different.

When did you last sit on a park bench or in your yard watching the birds? Just empty your mind and let Spring's budding greenery wrap around your vision for a break. No goals. No activities. Just listen to the sounds around you. It may seem weirdly different at first, with something nagging at the edge of your consciousness of some task you must do. But, remember, if your cup is continually empty, you have no reservoir of strength to pull from for yourself, and you'll have nothing to give to your family or your job. You won't be able to weather the news that Godzilla might be at the edge of the city!

In Buddhism, the Lotus plant is one of the heralded flowers of strength and perseverance. Remember seeing one of those in a city lagoon? It's one of the most stunning plants that seeds and flowers only in muddy, brackish water. It represents the human spirit's ability to thrive even in the worst environments. Beauty in mud! We humans have that capacity. But what would be left if we burn the candles of our human spirit at both ends AND the middle? Are we spending our energies wisely for ourselves and the people we care about?

So we have to check ourselves. How are we spending our energies to rejuvenate our spirit? Do we have to keep the folks around who constantly drain us with constant drama, petty jealousies, and neediness that never goes away? So build those 15 - 20 minutes breaks during your day and week, and practice deep breathing. It stops the fight or flight tight chest breathing that we often do in times of stress.

Look at it this way, when you get on a plane, the steward or stewardess always instructs you in case of an emergency and air pressure drops - oxygen masks will pop out overhead. Before you help someone else, airplane personnel tells you to put your OWN oxygen mask on first! If you pass out, you'll be no help for yourself or your family. All you have to do is yank on that oxygen mask and BREATHE DEEPLY! Rejuvenate your energy first!


Christine LaRue

Artist Bio

Christine “Liz” LaRue is a clay artist and illustrationist. She is known for her intricately textured figurative sculptures and emotionally illustrative drawings. Chicago born though also raised in Utah and Idaho, Ms. LaRue is of Creole/Cuban descent. Her art has been influenced by her Afro-Latino heritage. Ms. LaRue’s interests has been in Pre-Columbian art of the Olmec, Maya of Mexico, Nazca and Moche face pots of Peru. This also includes the bronze sculptures of the Ife of Nigeria, and Tā Moko tattoo art of the Maōri.

Ms. LaRue got hooked on ceramics at the age of 10 at the Hull House Art and Music Camp. She earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies with a Ceramics Minor from the University of Denver. She has a Master’s degree in clinical social work specializing in multi-cultural families.

Though she lived briefly in Mexico pursuing ceramic art studies, she brought the knowledge back to Chicago to teach wheel throwing and handbuilding a various ceramic studios in Chicago. Ms. LaRue’s art work spotlights the beauty of the African American portraiture so ignored in American mainstream society.

Ms. LaRue has shown at various venues in Chicago including; Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition at the Museum of Science & Industry, winning best in ceramics 2015, 2016, 2017, Hyde Park Art Center, The Cliff Dweller Club, DuSable Museum and UIC 5th Floor Gallery. She has numerous works in private collections.

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