I keep a brightly colored raggedy Ann doll in my art studio, to daily remind me of a time when my lizard brain hadn’t yet taken control of my thoughts and actions. I faintly recall myself as a little girl, full to the brim with giggles, curiosity, unconditional love and headlong, blundering, joyful play. Going full out, immune to the ‘adult” concepts of failure and fear, as well as the often times cruel or critical words of others judgment.
My doll also reminds me of the special little girl who thought enough to choose such a seemingly small, yet important gift for me. I am forever grateful for her wisdom and compassion, belied by her scant years among us.
Deciding to be an artist, really truly this time! Not just fiddling around in my occasional spare time as a hobby has heralded an avalanche of learning and relearning about life and myself. I know it sounds odd, but how you do anything, is how you do everything. I wanted to do it all perfectly, be good, to be liked, to not upset anyone, fit in by conforming, to stay invisible. Maybe some of you can identify with what I’m describing?
Being an Artist, which I believe involves anyone, in any field of work who is not simply content to follow the rules, keep the peace, and focus exclusively on being productive, but rather a person who creates a way to add value, invent a new solution or connection that truly makes a difference to others. Artists are always, sharing a part of themselves with abundant generosity and graciousness. In short, they are gift givers.
The problem I unexpectedly discovered in pursuing my emergence as an artist is this: the part of our brains that embraces the creation of art is completely at odds with the other side of our brain, that of the primal lizard, whose only job is to keep us safe.
Hence releasing within me an enormous, unending drivel of destructive and useless thoughts. I encountered a barrage of fear, procrastination, anxiety, excuses, self-doubt and even illnesses. Ridiculous! Right? Not really . . . I was operating exactly as we were “trained” to, by everyone; parents, teachers, bosses, friends and society, an indoctrination or domestication that dims the “genius” of our uniqueness button and keeps us from being seen. Stay safe don’t put your-self out there!
Thanks to a recent book I have read entitled, “Linchpin” I have come to understand that no one really knows what to do. But there are only three states of being:
- Not Knowing
- Taking Action
Trust yourself! It is ok not to know, it is ok to fail, it is ok to make mistakes, and it is ok to be different. Even though it may feel emotionally difficult to hold that space. To NOT hold that space is to give up, give in and begin to die a tiny piece everyday filled with imagined slights and fears.
“Your work is to create art that changes things, to expose your insight and humanity in such a way that you are truly indispensible. Your work is, to do the work, not do your job. Your job is about following instructions; the work is about making a difference.” Seth Godwin, author of “Linchpin”.
We all have a choice, even when we think we don’t! I am throwing myself under the bus, stepping out, taking a risk. My challenge is to continue digging deeper, creating paintings and works of art that add beauty, connect and inspire, to really make a difference. My hope is that you will commit to this path also, whatever your chosen art may be.
I am writing this blog from my bed, where today I have been forced through illness to retire to. Resistance is again rearing its ugly head. Of course it is, it’s only 3 days till my first public Studio & Gallery opening.