What I learnt from 2012, was that all of my procrastination was just a fear of letting go of what was once very comfortable and supportive - but with time became completely unreliable, a great burden and often inflicting pain. Not unlike an old, stretched out under-wire bra that's popped it's wire. Ouch! Despite loving these 'things' and knowing you've invested so much into them, they can have this powerful hold over so many areas of your life - but sadly these 'things' consistently failed to serve me. Not in any real positive way. They were not things that would just get better with time, or things that would change if I just put in more effort. They were things that were holding me back and poisoning my actual soul. Dramatic I know, but I can't describe it any other way. They didn't belong in my life, and it was hard to face up to this.
I've come to believe that when you finally face a fear, (or deal with a pressing issue head-on) you will be rewarded in any number of uplifting ways. Whether it be with pride, a sense of freedom, self-worth, accomplishment or motivation to keep on challenging yourself - they are generally all good (if not adrenalin releasing) feelings and can lead to further positive ripple effects in all areas of life. But what if you've not identified the correct fear to put all of that full frontal energy into? What if it's merely a time wasting exercise that you thought was a pressing issue, but turns out to not even come close to what you were hoping to achieve by finally facing it? Well, I reckon it still doesn't hurt to have found the bravery and commitment to face even the smallest of things, because essentially you are getting closer to your most pressing 'stuff' and maybe this process of elimination will help you clarify that which you are having a difficult time...well, clarifying!
I've deliberately sought out 'things' and 'stuff' in my life that I thought I needed to finally face since that pivotal year in my life, and I've either done it on the spot, without hesitation OR I've gone and told a bunch of people that this is what I'm thinking of doing, but I'm not sure when and maybe next month or next year when I'm less busy. I am a bit of an over-sharer…can you be a bit of that? Or just plain and simply an 'over-sharer'? Probably the latter. Sometimes I will proclaim that I will do this grand thing as my Facebook status, see what kind of encouragement I will get from others and direct it as focus towards this 'thing', that I simply must now follow through with! I don't like to break my promises, so generally I will tell as many people as I can so that they will question/probe me about the progress in days, weeks or months that follow. E.g. When is your online store going up? When is your studio getting built? When are you quitting teaching? When are you starting workshops? You now that kind of stuff? BTW this is a total deflection of responsibility to fulfilling personal goals independently, and I acknowledge that. Just like vowing to exercise every day with a friend. You come to rely on that friend AND that's just lazy. Seriously! But actually, you know what? It works for some. So yeah, do that!
There are good things and bad things about this 'over-sharing' side of my personality. The good things include self-promotion of my strengths and achievements and 'small life-wins', because I don't have a manager or talent agent or even a personal assistant to do this for me (my friend Laura reminded me of that - yes friends are actually helpful for realising personal growth). While my parents and in-laws do their very best to shout my successes to the world, they don't count - because well, most supporting parents are shouting out our life wins, whether we want them to or not - most of the time. And perhaps whispering their moans and groans about our life choices behind our backs. Whatever. But back to what I was saying, man I wish I had a personal assistant or at the very least as social media manager. I hope to, someday. WHAT! Hang on, that's not what this is about.
As an artist you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable, seriously and ALL. OF. THE, TIME! To create work, to then show someone your work and to make more work - you put yourself and your abilities and your mind out their for the world to see and you can torture yourself senseless wondering what people will think of it and of you - but either way it's an essential part of the process. I plaster my works everywhere I possibly can, so I'm pretty good in that particular area of being vulnerable. Yay me! See, that's what a 'small life-win' looks like. Own that sh*t! To finally own the title of 'Artist' meant I had to stop referring to myself as a teacher first and foremost and that meant I had to let go of that huge part of my working life, because no matter how long I used this official title to explain what I did for a living - I never really believed that what I actually was and what I truly am…is an artist. I let go of the fear of other's judgment - which was ruling this part of who I am and how I present my life to the world. Again, this was a fear I faced when I couldn't hide from it any longer and ultimately I stopped fearing what bad things might happen if I left teaching and instead became far more excited about what GREAT things would happen, if I did.
I'm currently reading a seriously delicious book, that is absolutely filling me up in so many meaningful ways and allowing me to make all of these enlightening connections in my own life, and it's called 'Women Who Run With The Wolves' by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph. D.- a 'New York Times' best seller for 145 consecutive weeks when it was released back in 1992 - so I won't be surprised if many of you have already been there and read that! I'm just grateful that it's come into my must read radar now, thanks to a beautiful lady named Caz, who I met this year via an instagram connection, a visit to my studio and realisation that both of our dogs attended puppy preschool together back in 2015. Ha!
I want to share this excerpt from the intro about reasserting our relationship with 'the Wild Woman' (that has always resided inside us all) and what starts to happen:
'Once women have lost and regained her, they will fight and fight hard to keep her, for with her their creative lives blossom; their relationships gain meaning and depth and health; they are no longer marks for predations of others; they are entitled equally under the laws of nature to grow and to thrive. Now their end-of-the-day fatigue comes from satisfying work and endeavours, not from being shut up in too small a mind set, job, relationship. They know instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.'
I read this, smiled and instantly thought "YES! This book is good!"
This time of year brings on a wave of reflection for many of us, a lot of us look forward to getting a fresh start and setting new goals and sometimes reviewing all of those pesky 'to-do-lists' that have carried over and over, year after year. I'm no stranger to this, but I do find it hard to look back on this single year alone when I think about what I want to get to in the present. The last 4-5 years of my life have been about renewal and celebrating the fact that I do have the power to get what I ask for. I'm not going to apologise for the fruit-loop flavour that statement might have either. The fact that things that I sought to pursue were meeting me half way and positively impacting my life did scare me initially, but now it just makes me smile and feel confident about what I'm doing and how I'm spending my days. Because of that, I'm not making any specific new year's resolutions either.
So on that note, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2016 and thank you all so very much for cheering me on, buying my artwork, attending my workshops, sharing my work, telling your friends, liking my posts and staying a little while longer. No platform is worth having, if there's no audience in front of it and any kind of support keeps me motivated.
I look forward to sharing the unexpected goodness that I know 2016 will bring me.