I am SO very excited to announce the launch of my first collaborative art project (drumroll please...)
Art to Heal Your Soul!
I've been working with a good friend and AMAZING artist, Susan Nicolai as part of a collaborative art project with 20 different artists. As a digital storyteller, Susan brought my creative journaling prompts to life - and has created a fabulous way to share them with you. Here she is, chatting about the project...
Here are all the details:
30 days of visual journal prompts from 20 artists.
Tap the power of healing with art that speaks to your soul.
Experience art journal prompts with interactive, digitally streamed content!
Experience the power of collaborative art. Twenty artists share the insightful beauty of art journaling and how it can be a source of personal transformation and healing.
Each artist shines a ray of light through their work and story, presented with a digital twist. Their art opens a personal perspective on healing. You’ll see a rising from pain, hurts and difficulties… and an integration into a new, stronger fabric of Self. You’ll feel the loving intention.
Engage in this interactive experience:
Early birds—all orders in by December 24 get $10 off!
Regular price--$59. Course launches January 1, 2017
Makes a great gift for a creative friend or someone you’d like to inspire, including yourself!
Participating Artists include: Tina Alberni, Catherine Anderson, Kristiann Bonn, Carolina C. Brown, Honorata Chorazy-Przybysz, Cynthia Collins, Joan Gaetz, Kiala Givehand, Amanda Grace, Deanna Jinjoe, Kelly Johnson, Suki Kapinao, Yaelaed Lynn, Brian Miller, Debbie Miller, Jerry McQuay, Liz Nicolai, Susan Nicolai, Kate Robertson, Jen Walls.
Yesterday I was feeling lost in the myriad of details and pressures of joining the ranks of the self-employed. There were blog posts to write. An Etsy shop to update. Class lessons to create and film. Business cards to order. Half-finished art pieces languishing in the studio corner.
All these competing demands, threatening to overwhelm with their cries of “Do me first”!
So I followed the best advice of all the productivity gurus out there. I made a categorized and prioritized list of all the to-do’s…
And then promptly began playing solitaire on my computer.
Classic Avoidance Behavior, replete with all the guilt that comes from not being “productive” enough.
Or was it?
You see, yesterday I also shared this sense of overwhelm with my group of artist mentors. I’ve kind of been feeling like I shouldn’t have launched my website until I had everything in place –
Yep. That’s where my perfectionistic tendencies lead me – every time. Fortunately, I recognize these patterns now and am willing to take steps into the unknown, even without all the contingencies planned for.
So when I took a deep breath and hit the “publish” button for my new website, there was Joy! Relief! And all kinds of support and love from my family and friends. (THANK YOU!!)
But now, less than a month after launching the site, I was feeling like I had over-reached and over-promised. I hadn’t prepared enough material and my “baby” was being neglected as I tried to keep ahead of all the moving pieces.
Fortunately, one of the wise women mentors, Hali Karla (www.halikarla.com), reminded me of the natural rhythm of life and creation. There is an exhale and an inhale. A contraction and a release.
Publishing my website was a HUGE release of energy into the world. So it’s only natural (and healthy) to expect that there needs to be time to recoup and regenerate.
The bigger the expenditure, the greater the need for restoration.
Have you ever had to blow up a bunch of balloons? It’s a straightforward process. Inhale, blow air into the balloon and repeat until the balloon is the size you want. Then repeat until all balloons are filled.
The problem arises when you use all your breath to inflate the balloons.
In order to keep going, you sometimes need to stop and take a breath for yourself.
If you keep pushing through, you get light-headed and dizzy. You may have finished the task quickly, but you don’t feel very good afterwards.
What happens if you pace yourself instead? Sure, it takes a little longer, but taking time to provide oxygen for yourself is healthy and more sustainable.
So now with Hali’s wise words, I find myself in a more forgiving space.
I know I could seem more productive if I followed the gurus’ rules. For a while.
But if I want to create a healthy and sustainable business, I need to recognize that self-care is a huge part of it.
That may look like three or four rounds of computer solitaire after writing a (huge!) to-do list. Or it might need to look like a day-trip to the beach after a product launch.
These ups and downs of daily energy and accomplishments become an integral part of who we are as healthy and thriving creative entrepreneurs. Because it is vital to remember that every expansion, every exhale, needs a life-sustaining inhale to compliment it.
And now that this blog post is done, I hope you’ll excuse me. I’m off to fix myself a cup of tea, curl up under a blanket with my kitties and enjoy watching the rain.
How do you take time to recharge yourself? Do you find that your recharge is in proportion to your energy expenditures? Take a moment to share in the comments.
A couple of days ago, I had an Alexander* day. I was feeling out of sorts. Sad. Really angry. Like someone had rubbed salt into an open wound in my heart. Had the opportunity presented itself, I might have verbally unleashed this torrent of anger and frustration on the nearest target – usually my husband, poor guy.
Instead, I grabbed my art journal. I had nothing in mind. But it seemed like maybe if I could just grab some paper and rip it and slap it on with glue and smear paint - it might just help. (Admittedly, it also crossed my mind to grab a steak knife and stab the pages in my journal. I decided to reserve that option if the painting didn’t help.)
Ever see a young child react to not getting her own way? It’s happy-to-rage in a split second. But once the anger is burnt out, it’s done.
But what about when I don’t get my own way? By now I’ve been socialized to quickly tamp down my explosive reaction, but the emotion is still there, looking for an outlet.
The problem comes when I either try to stuff the feelings down or try to put an unrealistic, Pollyanna-spin on my feelings. When I stuff my anger but replay the situation over and over in my head, it’s just like having a pebble in my shoe – I may not be emotionally angry anymore, but I keep triggering a sense of irritation and discontent. On the other hand, if I choose to put on a happy face, my anger will keep knocking at the door, and I will spend (waste) a whole lot of energy trying to keep up a good front.
Our emotions serve as an alert system.
If the smoke detector in your house goes off – do you just sit there and stew about that obnoxious beeping noise and all the other times in the past when it’s happened?
Do you say, “Oh, that noise is sure testing me, but I’m going to focus on the blessings of my house and working batteries and a good sense of hearing?”
More likely, your response is, “Oh, sh*t!” and you jump to deal with the problem behind the smoke detector – which in my house usually means there’s something burning under the pan. After the alarm, you can figure out how to handle to bigger problem.
Stimulus: the smoke detector. Response: alarm, pull the pan off the burner. Choice: fix the fan in the stove hood or spend time cleaning the drip pans under the burner.
So back to the Alexander day. Something happened. I got really stinking mad about it. I released that raw energy and emotion onto my journal pages. Releasing that anger allowed me to move into a space of transformation. Once the anger was diffused, there was space for me to choose my response to the situation.
Stimulus: my child being treated unfairly. Response: Anger! Irritation. Choice #1: Since my child is over 18, this is no longer my battle. I can support my child and offer advice if asked. But it is my child’s opportunity for a life lesson. Choice #2: Spend time writing in my journal about why this event was such a huge emotional trigger for me. Probably worth knowing what is at the root of my response – we are talking steak-knives-angry, after all.
And in the end, this process is still exactly that – a process. Sometimes I don’t have the luxury of time or place to immediately spill the emotions in my journal. Other times it feels rather cathartic to get on a roll and just be pissed at the world for a while. But even then, I try to remain aware of the question:
“What choices do I have in this situation?”
I find the more times I am able to spend writing or painting in response to my emotions, the better I get handling my Alexander days.
What about you? How do you handle your Alexander days? Are you able to slow down enough to consider your choices? Feel free to share in the comments below. Maybe what works for you will support someone else who is dealing with an Alexander day.
*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst (1972).
For the whole of my adult life, I've been a crafter. A quilter. Dabbled in jewelry design. Sewed costumes for children's theater. Even explored oil painting (once!) as part of a writers' retreat. But until recently, I've not called myself an artist. I've never attempted to connect my 'hobbies' with a 'career'. Even the mention of the possibility has long-time friends and acquaintances looking at me as if I've grown two heads and sprouted horns (I don't think it's happened, but I keep checking the mirror.)
It's time for that change. Here. Now.
25 Reasons I am an Artist