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I've had a long running fascination with the nature of pain, how we perceive it and how to overcome it. I often tell my kids, "don't give power to your pain", essentially helping them to not allow themselves to dwell on the pain, and it will feel less painful. This was just based on a hunch.

I've tested my theory a lot on myself. I'm fortunate to have given birth three times, so. like a lot of mothers, I think, I use childbirth as a pain threshold. Once, I was at the dentist having a tooth repaired and the freezing wasn't working. The dentist paused and asked if I was okay. And I was. It hurt, but nothing like childbirth, I consoled myself. I was able to minimize the pain in my mind and she was able to finish the job without extra medication.  I'm not super tough. I just think we are set up this way. Maybe we can think the pain away.

My youngest is about to turn 11, so the memory of the intensity of giving birth is fading and I suspect won't be able to hang onto that comparison for much longer.

Recently, I had some deep tissue massage on my legs to help with a nagging case of Achilles tendinitis. It was intense. It burned and pinched and hurt like hell. I needed something to bite down on. But in the midst of it I thought about what my friend and Yoga instructor, Michel, had said one class:

Acknowledge your pain. Walk into it. Breathe and let your body support you.

So, I did. I visualized myself standing smack in the middle of that pain. And instead of wincing and grinding my teeth and persevering until it was over, I found myself in a feeling of power and strength as the pain met me as an image in my mind, not too unlike being in the midst of a dark storm as it blew past me. What was almost unbearable was no longer a problem. In fact, it was almost like a gift. How amazing that I could endure this with comparable ease, when only moments before I was ready to jump out of my skin. I was empowered. And more, I felt secure and in control, which is the opposite of what I normally feel when running from pain. Maybe it was because I felt I could see the pain - its beginning and end. Maybe it was just the distraction - focusing on the motion of facing pain, but not focusing on the pain itself.

My yoga friend meant her words in the the context of our yoga practice, which never seeks to induce pain, but sometimes in life pain is unavoidable. And how nice to find that in these areas of my life, where there is physical pain and discomfort, that my body is equipped to deal with it if I can just let it.  Another reason to trust that my body knows what it needs.

Maybe in a world where we are so intent on medicating all forms of pain it serves us well to explore what pain can actually do for us and how we can embrace it and work with it and use it as a tool to know ourselves better.

Have you had similar experiences in thinking or visualizing away your pain?  I'd love to hear about them.
This is the second installment of a series of drawings based on my sentiments which can be pretty much summed up as: Politics, I can't even. The first? Here.

But I am a good citizen, mainly because I have children who watch my every move, so I am trying to arouse some sort of interest in the race for the Supreme Emperor of Canada, or whatever you call it. Mostly, I think shish kabobing my own arm would be more fun. Alas, I draw to pretend elections are the best time ever. The kids are watching. And at least we are allowed to vote. So I guess I should know the who and the what, and maybe you want to know, too. Let me help you ....

Annnnd, that's about all I can handle for now. Until next time ....

Bah Ha Bah, as the locals say. Last week I visited this enchanting little town on Mount Desert Island, Maine, with my family.

I've put out a call to my instagram buddies to share the textures they encounter in their day to day lives. The hashtag is #mylifetextures.  I started this to encourage us all to take a closer look at the depth and beauty that surrounds us and also to inspire myself in my composite art pieces. If I use a texture submitted by someone other than myself, I tag the contributor.

Here are a few I've put together so far. Textures in this collection originate in places like British Columbia, Quebec, Maine, and even China. Some also include original drawings I've done in the past or present.

If you want to join in the fun, connect with me on instagram, @julieprescesky, and use the hashtag #mylifetextures when uploading the textures of your life.

I made up this guide for our incoming home/pet sitters. Life is just easier with instructions. Instructions with pictures.

Does this seem like overkill? Or maybe not enough information?

Canadian Election 2015

The whole race to election thing is super annoying. Like highschool drama, it's full of pointing fingers, manipulation, and roomer spreading. I can't even. 

So, I decided I needed to encourage myself to tune into the campaign trail, and I'm doing that by making all of the candidates pose for me and my sketchbook. 

I will spend time scrutinizing these four with my pen, and occasionally share with you the results. Plus, I chuckle when I get to put them all together like this. It makes me not totally hate politics.
(click to enlarge the images). 

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