I worked in the studio yesterday.
I stood in front of the easel, pondered the blank space in front of me, and took a risk.
A search of google for quote on ‘risk-taking’ brings ups some gems.
If you don’t try, you’ll never know (Unknown)
Thinking, ‘here goes nothing’ could be the start of something. — Drew Wagner
You’re always going to miss your chance if you never take a risk. (Unknown)
I particularly like the last one, not because it’s more profound but rather, because in the picture of it I found, there was a typo — and I love other people’s typos. Makes me feel less conspicuous with my own.
The fact, the provider of that quote hasn’t fixed it could say many things — it’s all in my interpretation.
a) They haven’t noticed it.
b) No one has pointed it out.
c) Fixing it isn’t important to them.
d) It’s a test of my capacity to notice small details.
e) All or none of the above.
Which is really the point of this post.
Last night, there was a big mistake at the Academy Awards. Those involved handled it with incredible grace. The Academy, in front of hundreds of million viewers, corrected the mistake. Warren Beatty clarified what had happened, even as others stood around with confused expressions on their faces.
In the end, the real winners came up and the not real winners handed over the prize and the world kept turning.
And then, Cyberspace went crazy.
It was a mistake.
The true measure of our mistakes is in how quickly we fix them, or not.
And last night, The Academy fixed their mistake, in the moment.
I make mistakes all the time. They are not the measure of my worth — unless I repeat the same mistake over and over again. Then it’s no longer a mistake. It’s a habit. A poor execution. A negative space I inhabit.
For the Academy, this is the first time I remember a mistake like that happening. Pretty good recovery if you ask me. A pretty good measurement of the integrity and honesty of the organization.
And, to me, it’s a pretty good reflection of the true grit and courage of the American people.
Honest. Forthright. Willing to take on big tasks and be humble in their execution.
Yes, there are issues. But the American people are bigger than the issues. Always have been.
I have faith in their ability to take action with caution and care and consideration for all.
I painted and glazed and used my Gelli pad (a rubbery pad used for print making — I love it!) and splashed some more paint and really, really was into the moment, just diving into the creative process, letting the muse have her way when… who should appear? That nasty little voice in my head, (you know that critter guy who likes to interfere with joyful pursuits just to make sure you’re not getting too full of savouring and loving life)… Yeah him… well he piped in and said, “You think you know what you’re doing. You don’t. You’re going to mess it up. You’re just kidding yourself. You haven’t got a clue about what you’re doing…”
That was to have been the theme for the 13th painting in my #ShePersisted series. “They said she didn’t know what she was doing. She turned their world upside down.”
Which is why, the woman who is falling in the painting was actually turning a cartwheel originally.
And then, the birds appeared.
And then, I remembered a couple of ideas two friends shared with me on FB for a quote for one of the paintings, and suddenly, cartwheels turned to a woman falling and learning to fly. (Thank you Sheila K. and Sandra R)
And that is how the creative process works.
Two ideas became one, emerging out of another.
It is what is continuing to compel me to create this series. I am not in control. I am not the ‘creator’. I am simply the conduit for the muse to express herself through me.
And it can be tiring. Or so I tell myself until I recognize that thought as the critter’s subtle attempt to get me to stop. “You really don’t know what you’re doing,” he hisses. “Stop it.”
No. I won’t.
I will not give into the critter, even when he is stomping his feet and telling me to stop painting. Stop creating. Like he tried last night.
And that is the lesson I found waiting for me in front of the easel last night.
The critter is just a voice in my head. He is not real. He is a creation of my reptilian mind, rising up out of the ages. Carrying generations of familial messages, trauma, hurts and pains.
Sure, in a not so nice way, he’s trying to keep me safe. He’s trying to protect me.
He forgets. I am no longer foraging for grains, living in a cave, peering into a fire that I keep burning all night to ward off animals and evil spirits.
I have evolved. I am here, right now, a powerful woman capable of expressing myself fearlessly. I have my own voice. My own opinions. My own thoughts. And, I am powerful beyond my own imaginings!
Once upon a time, the critter and I were one. He was important to my survival.
I survived the dark ages. It’s time for both of us to come into the light.
The series #ShePersisted can be viewed on my website, HERE.
She still has me. Is still gripping me in her velvet gloves, massaging my creative muscles and inspiring words and images to flow.
The muse and I had quite the affair last night.
Last night, I tried to defy her.
I wanted to give up on this particular image. It just wasn’t coming.
I was painting to a different quote and this image was not measuring up. It was messy. Disconnected. Chaotic. I hated it.
I told her I was done. That this piece I was working on just wasn’t working. It was over.
She lovingly held me, soothed my wounded ego, my defeatist attitude and said, “When you’re lost in the woods, keep going towards the light.”
I threw caution to the wind and dug back in.
I was already painting over another piece I’d created last year that wasn’t particularly pleasing.
What did I have to lose? Leave it in a state of dissatisfaction? Or let go, carry on and be open to whatever happened?
That’s the thing about the #ShePersisted series I’ve been working on — they are nearly all created on old pieces that were not completed — I just didn’t know it at the time of originally painting them!
In most of them, the past informs the present. It shows through in pieces of colour, texture, design and even those sections you can’s see, they are lying under the topcoat, informing the context.
Like life. We can’t actually see the past, yet, it’s always there. Informing. Contextualizing. Shadowing. The present is a statement of the past. And sometimes, even when we think we’re done with what was,, if we haven’t created beauty and value from it, it will come back into the present allowing us another opportunity to create better.
Last night, while working on the 12th painting for the #ShePersisted series, I wanted to give up.
What a mess I thought.
And then the muse whispered into my heart, “Keep going,” she said. “You’re not done yet.”
I’m glad I listened. I persisted.
The quote became: “They said to be careful. She threw caution to the wind.”
The finished piece is on my website HERE.
The art of creating is to give into your true self.
It requires letting go of conscious thought to give into the creative impulse and desire to express itself, however it appears.
It requires letting go of self-criticism to breathe into stillness, acceptance, feeling, discernment.
In the studio, in the process of allowing creativity to flow, I discover the beauty of being present, of being conscious and aware.
In the studio, I am not an artist. I am the creative expression of my true self. I am the muse’s conduit, her vehicle to bring into expression the gifts within me. The gifts of me.
I have been creating in the studio almost every day for the past two weeks.
As the #ShePersisted series continues to express itself, I find my voice coming through her expression.
It is a fascinating juxtaposition.
I am challenged by something that happened thousands of miles away. By a phrase uttered by a man at a podium that I feel shaking my feminine essence, my human experience.
Through my reaction, I am compelled to take action to find what it is I know to be true for me. In the act of creating, I meet myself.
In the studio, my manifesto becomes:
I am the artist. I am the conduit for the artist to reveal herself.
I am the creator of art. I am the vehicle for the art to reveal itself so that I can see myself.
I am the one present. I am the one through whom the gift of artistic expression flows, bringing me present to myself.
I am at the heart of me standing in front of the easel. I am the one with the easel bringing me ever closer to my heart.
It is what the creative process keeps teaching me again and again. There is nothing to fear in front of the easel. Because in front of the easel is where I meet myself, again and again.
I am amazed to see that I am already at Week 45 with this series!
Thank you for those who follow along and encourage me. It can be easy with a project like this to lose ground, give up, stop before it’s completed.
I am grateful that I have chosen not to. that I have chosen instead to persevere. Persist.
Writing, creating art, doing the things I am committed to doing to create ‘better’ in this world are all expressions of my true self. They are out-pourings of my divine nature looking to be seen, heard, known.
We all share this urge. We all possess a divine impulse to be seen and heard and known from the heart out.
It can be easy in this materially driven western culture to reverse the flow. To believe that my ‘worth’ is expressed in what I put around me and on me.
Don’t be fooled by expressions of material wealth.
That is all they are — an outward manifestation of how much is in your bank account. Not how much you carry and know within your heart.
Be happy for your material wealth.
Be generous with your inner beauty.
Express yourself so all the world can see, and know, what is possible when we live from the heart out.
If you follow me on FB or Twitter or Instagram, you will have seen my series of art pieces with words: #ShePersisted
I am posting each piece as it’s created on my website — HERE. I’d love to have you join me in this exploration of what is possible when times are tough, when people want to shut us down — and Nevertheless… persist.
In a meeting yesterday, someone said, while discussing next steps for a project. “We’ve got to get started because, before you know it, a month will have passed and you didn’t even notice.”
Time is on my mind.
As I look forward to where I want to be in the next 6 to 12 months, I see possibilities expanding for me to move beyond the work I do now, day to day, to other things I want to do.
Like paint more.
Create more and inspire more through my creations.
And then I trip over myself.
Yesterday, I took on an added workload. When I walked out of the meeting where I’d volunteered to take it on, I had to ask myself, what have I done?
I knew what I’d done. I’d said yes to being of service to others without first stopping to ask myself, Does this serve me well? (And yes, there might just have been a little bit of the ‘I can’t say no’ chatter going on in my head too!)
There is nothing wrong with taking on more work, or pitching in to help out in a bind. In fact, stepping into the world from a place of, “How can I be of service”, creates space for gratitude and humility to be present.
However, when being of service to others adds stress or diminishes your capacity to step continually forward towards your passions, then the act of service is not being made from a place of humility. It is coming from a place of hubris. It won’t lead to an attitude of gratitude. It just leads to resentment, especially when you set yourself up to be taken advantage of through not asking for what is fair, or right, or what you deserve.
I like to feel wanted. That what I do makes a difference. When I diminish my value however, by not standing true to what is important — ie. asking for what I deserve or saying no when I need to — then I am not coming at the work with a ‘pure heart’. I’m stepping in with a hungry heart.
I have a vision to retire and immerse myself in inspiring others to explore their creative essence through offering workshops and teaching people how to tune into their creative core to express themselves freely.
I won’t get there if I don’t stand up for myself and take time to consider each item on my plate and the value it brings to moving me closer to fulfilling on my vision for my life.
Finding balance, measuring our time and considering how best to fill it to create value for ourselves and the world around us, is essential to living pure of heart in gratitude and humility.
The sixth painting in my #ShePersisted series is HERE.
Ever since the moment I read the account of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s shunning in Congress, and the utterance of the words, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” I have felt a voice within me rising up. It’s urgency is compelling me to create art that speaks to Senator Warren’s courage, and the courage that exists within all of us to resist bully’s, push back against discrimination and stand up for one another, our feminine essence, our humanity.
This series is my rebellion.
I am not a placard bearing, slogan chanting protester. I am strong and forthright. Willing to step in and be heard. In my way.
And that is the feminine way. We do not insist we all fit into the same box. Or that we protest in the same voice. We accept the many different ways, the many different voices, the many different stances.
This series, #ShePersisted, is my way.
It is created in collaboration with Academy of Rising Women and its midwife, Kerry Parsons. In Kerry’s vision, there is a stirring in our souls … a deeply feminine longing to live in a compassionate, wise-hearted world that works for all life. For years, thousands of years, we have been simmering, potent but not powerful. And now in answer to the call of a world in need of compassion and courage and collaboration, we rise!
The Academy of Rising Women is a potent, powerful wisdom community for the new emerging woman. Together we are creating a passionately powerful learning community of strong and courageous women to love deeply and live fully … to experience, express and create our future and, shape the future of our world.
I am honoured to be part of this academy of rising women. Of women who march, and who gather, around the well, in playgrounds and parks and living rooms and coffee shops and around the kitchen table.
We are the voices of compassion. Possibility. Hope. We are the flow. The ebb. The sisterhood. The stewards of all life. The birthing of our humanity.
In our voices, in our wombs, in our hands reaching out, inward and towards one another. In our standing alone and together in the clear and visible awesome beauty of our femininity. Our truth.
We are rising.
This series is for me. It is for you. It is for each of us. All of us.
To see the complete series of quotes and paintings and to follow along as I create the series, click HERE.
There are so many opportunities in this world to not, take care. To tell ourselves, “Ha! I can do what I want because everyone else is.”
Fact is, doing what we want to create happiness, joy, wealth… cannot be at the expense of someone else’s happiness, rights, happiness, joy.
We are inter-relational. We are inter-dependent. Like the butterfly wings disturbing air in Africa, creating a windstorm on the other side of the world, the small things we do here, ripple out to create impacts in the world all around us.
Take care to ensure every action, thought, word, idea you create is a ripple that creates better. Take care to ensure having what you want does not mean someone else is harmed.
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