What is it that you could do to help make heavy tasks lighter? To make necessary evils into something a little less menacing? For me, it's wearing a silly tie when I need to get down to the business side of my work. ;)
Accepting what you cannot control - even identifying what we cannot control - is crazy hard & hurts. It's also a relief, when & if you can get to that place - knowing that you are doing what you can and that that truly is good enough.
For a (recovered) perfectionist, eldest daughter of a pastor and life-long seeker of the good in humanity, the walls crashing down on my (first) marriage + my little sister's stage 4 cancer diagnosis + sexual assault...this acceptance of what I cannot control and releasing it as "good enough" was & is a profound struggle.
Diagnoses such as Depression, PTSD, Adult ADD, Anxiety Disorder, Co-Dependency, Low Self-Esteem came at me and I worked my way through them, figuring out what fit, what could be fixed and what I would need to live with - what is good enough.
Therapy and spiritual searching led me (back) to art-making, to creating, to "controlling" that little world in front of me - on that page, that canvas, in those stitches. In the worlds I create, for example, there is NO cancer.
There also is release in creating - for those of us (all of us?) who have confronted a world that isn't as kind as we once thought, whose defenses weren't as strong as they once were. As we create, what comes out of us isn't always what we expect, but it's ours and real and something we can "control." (Ironically, in God's infinite sense of humor, I later learned that I'd have to give up "control" in my creating, too - but that's a story for another post.)
I have not written much about all of this - or really written much since my marriage started to crumble, back in 2006 - but it is time.
It is time because I know now, for sure, that I am not alone.
Not only do I have my faith and family, but I have met so many wonderful, wandering, loving, recovering, searching, uplifting souls through the art I've been creating since that moment in 2015 when I turned back to art to get back to joy.
My work is about positivity, about seeking joy and allowing joy in - despite and sometimes because of the pain we have experienced. Sunshine and roses do not exist apart from sunburn and thorns.
When I realized that my art was becoming a gift to others in their path to joy, I finally felt my true calling. All of this pain, compassion, empathy combined with an artistic gift is meant for this, for sharing, for helping others seek light, seek joy. It is my sincere hope that my work, words and journey can reassure you that you too, are not alone. We are in this boat together.
Would love to hear from you. When you're ready. Any time. And while I await hearing your lovely voices, please accept my gift of a free downloadable art print (shown here) for you or a lady in your life who could use a bit of Calamity Jane's gumption.
Why not take a little "happy" home?
Over the past year and a half, I have observed, hugged, shared moments with hundreds of people who are touched by the happiness and joy that my art exudes. They enter my "world" (tent) and breathe deep, smiling.
Yet, unless they have a nursery, little kid's room or a private craft area, my work is too bold for anywhere else in their homes.
Our homes should serve us, not the other way around. If something that makes you happy makes other people think you're a little bit "off" or weird, so be it. This is your life. It's your dwelling. You are allowed to shape it as you please. Forget the Joneses.
I don't necessarily mean buy my art (which, of course is always nice), I really mean give yourself permission to SURROUND YOURSELF WITH HAPPY VISUALS, at home, at work, wherever.
We shouldn't limit our expression of exuberance to children and secret nooks. YOLO, as they say. Or Carpe Diem. And Joie de Vivre.
May joy and happiness envelop you today.