Monday, May 23, 2011

sweet, unexpected, and real~

I had an email this week from a girl wanting to start up a new business. I was thrilled to help her and I was curiously re-thinking the path I have taken the past two years.  To the world I may not have made monumental changes -- money & fame are not readily apparent -- but in my heart and mind *mountains have moved*.  Small internal changes can provide such powerful catalysts for growth.  You know it when someone shares a bit of good/bad news -- it affects & motivates changes inside of you instantly.  You feel and take action.  The same is true with moving forward in deeply held dreams~

In truth, I have always wanted a serious creative venture.  I didn't know how to take the first few steps and  moreover, I really didn't know specifically what I wanted to do?!  (Have you ever felt that way?)

I always imagined myself doing something with art.  I have a love affair with all mediums - textually and texturally.  I also envisioned working with other creative people. Those three were the only key elements. I honestly thought it would be crafting a line of Christmas cards (truly a fetish of mine).  Or perhaps sewing sweet small things.  Or taking my photography to the next level?  I never imagined two years ago that I would be invested in baby lambs with all my heart or that I would be head-over-heels in love with freelance photography.  Or that my daily life would look like...or feel like...or smell like (when you have been around the lambs, you have certain smell) this.

It is sweet and unexpected and very real~

Can I share some personal thoughts about this process?
If you need motivation or if you have been down this road, perhaps it will make you smile~

* Cultivating an online life -- what for?   For almost a full year of blogging I was feeling very alone in the world.  I felt as if my blogging life was unnoticed and creatively I felt shut out from the artistic world I longed to be a part of.  Looking back it was a brilliant thing to have happen.  I needed to be okay with being me.  I needed to see and feel and understand what I was truly looking for in an online life - a new expression of my art!  In the end I realized that I didn't need feedback for my blogging, I was enjoying my creative space for what it was -- a really fun artistic experiment every time I put pictures with words.  I was in love with seeing a finished product on this white page!

* Filling up:  I had to cocoon.  I read.  I prayed.  I walked.  I made cookies.  I filled my life with inspiration in color and words. I dug into deep trenches of my heart and wrote my three pages each day.  I wrestled with God over the meaning of my life.  I didn't surf the web, I didn't visit other's blogs, I grabbed my trusty notebook and made notes and drew ideas and planned what was right for me (right now).

* Having opposable loves:  I learned that when I get into a mental funk I need to do something completely different.  If I have been shooting photos for days I set down my camera and pick up a trowel -- dig in the dirt, paint with my fingers, go visit a quilt shop.  If I am doing something mentally complex I let it go and spend time in some goofy pursuit -- bike riding to see baby goats, playing badminton with the boys, filling up bird feeders.  

* Being divinely led:  I don't take credit for places I have wandered into.  Some call it fate, some call it luck, I see it as having a God with merciful hands and a profoundly good sense of humor. I find myself in the strangest of places!   With creative flow in mind, a good friend and I  landed in a refresher photography course and I was forced to ride out the learning curves of new equipment. I found Kelly Rae Roberts class days late and jumped on it (not knowing that it would be the best money I would spend all year), I came across a silly painting class that helped me finally be free of my perfectionism issues.

I also wandered one day into some lovely lambing stalls...

* Sunshine and fresh air.  I can't sit at a computer for longer than 20 minutes.  I get mentally cramped and it is terrible for my back.  I have to move.  I consider myself blessed by this, I feel better and work better when I am out in God's creation.  How about you?  Do you do better with activity breaks too?

*  Creative blahs and deep artistic hunger: -- I don't like it when it happens. I don't like feeling artistically drained or unmotivated.  I have learned that it is part of the creative process to ride out the waves of staleness because it is a rest for the mind.  When the wild creative ideas and energy return it is so good! An artist's life is definitely not an easy one to balance daily, is it?

*  Pouring out:  I spent a great deal of time encouraging others in their online growth.  It is so amazing to see the creative geniuses online! I love the wild variety.  But initially it was a hard thing to do - to wander the web and pour out encouragement on other artists.  It was humbling and I was creatively insecure.  Now I see how necessary it is to my growth -- I need to step out and experience other's studios of learning.  I needed a shove -- out my safe space and to experience the good that comes from investing in other's lives.  My creative life is tied intrinsically to an abundant flow of divine love & energy (out and in).  When I pour out sincere encouragement -- the abundance comes my way as well?!   Have you noticed this too?     

* A studio can be anywhere:  A windowsill during a snowstorm.  A new notebook and pen.  A card table of photos, paper & glue.  A classroom of computers and software.  A messy box of paints on the kitchen counter.  A bunch of clay pots and some soil.  Old rotting barns waiting for my eye to see them.  I also realized that I didn't need my limited creative ideas ~ I had visited so many other artist's online studios...I could try their ideas too!  Yes!  

*  Sisterhood:  Not surprisingly the lovely sisterhood of friends from around the world comes to mind as the greatest gift in my personal growth. It is such a great blessing to have support and love from your online family and friends. The emotional support from fellow artists - emails, comments, and love are so important to fledgling artists (and established ones too I have heard!) - it can make a huge difference in a creative persons life.  You know how good it feels to get a random note of encouragement from someone.  I love my sweet friends~

* Hold out your hands:  Every day is new. Nothing stays the same. Art is dynamic and grows as we do.  I have learned that the best way to help myself in my personal growth is to hold out my hands and welcome what is to come.  I can't hold on tightly to what worked last year or last month, there could be something really good just ahead.  If I open my clenched fingers and trust -- it may lead to something new?

It may be the hardest part of this creative life ~ trust ~ but I think it is ultimately the end goal.  Learning to trust that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our creative lives~

So, in this creative journey the winds come and the branches sway~
What do you wish/want/need on your creative path today?

Trusting in His Grace & Peace,
to be the footsteps I follow~
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