The amount of happiness that you have
depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.
Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve been silent for a very long time. Though I do view blogs regularly, I haven’t interacted, and you’ve been missed.
There are reasons I might cite: failing computer, the usual struggle with depression and its accompanying lethargy, and finances taking a leap into near nothingness after car repairs and several quite large veterinary bills. I’ve just been focusing on the day-to-day survival (food, roof, medicine and pet supplies). Sometimes that is just the way it is. Though on the other side of things, with pleasure, a few friendships have bent my heart to deep gratitude during this time, and I’m thankful.
However, it is not the excuses I wish to focus on, but rather some recognitions going into the new year. Not one to often partake in holiday traditions (except the celebration of the first day of autumn…that day is adored), I surprised myself last night and today in taking stock, both for things I am grateful and in what I need accept about myself.
In terms of this blog:
I am, of course, always grateful to visitors – your thoughts and reflections; they mean the world to me. But, I’ve also had some realizations about why I am doing this blog, what my expectations have been for it, and what needs to change.
I’m exposing myself here more than normal, taking a chance with vulnerability – something I tend to shy away from in most circumstances. But then, isn’t that how one grows?
Recognitions / Faulty Thinking:
- I am afraid of not producing routinely on the blog, so I stopped producing at all.
- I feel guilty for not making and sharing artwork regularly, that is, following the plan(s) I shared with you, despite the fact that I was working on other, more basic needs.
- I feel I have to show only finished pieces, and do so frequently. Random elements or various stages of a work would be a waste of your time.
- I’m a perfectionist who seems to have chosen to define herself by activities and outputs (whether they be work, art, poetry, etc.), but in striving for perfection, lost all enjoyment, focusing only on self-expectation and comparison with longtime professionals.
- I believe that holding myself to impossible standards – standards that belong to other persons in other places and other times – pushes me to succeed.
- This blog, and this art, is not my job, not aimed toward a career, so I should not feel guilty if I have a desire (plan) to do something, mention it here, and then am unable to follow through. No one will suffer for the lack.
- I must try not to let each pursuit be a review of my personal worth. Self-judgment and fear of embarrassment, shame even, lead to paroxysms of doubt followed by paralysis. Sometimes a very long paralysis. (Ignore the voice that says, If I’m inadequate, why try? Why waste the time?) Do it when you can, and don’t when you can’t. There is no real expectation on this blog outside of me.
- Self-blame, punishment, shame, guilt – always there on a 24/7 loop tape – they grow louder with every expectation. Let it go. My art is for my enjoyment; I must remind myself that as soon as I make it required with a demand for always-excellence, it no longer has a positive meaning.
On the spectrum of fear and love, I tumble into fear almost every time. It is time to recalibrate my attention to something other than the (well-meaning but quite demeaning) voice inside my head. The inner critic has not (usually) worked as a method of improvement. I am a unique expression — a different person, in a different place, with a different approach, as are we all — and what I choose to share of my path here is not the whole, nor even the best, of me. And that’s okay.
…On a side note: I will be revamping the website soon; don’t be afraid to let me know of any quirks or problems you find when I do. 🙂 Oh, and for the last two weeks, I have again been doing a little art – first time since mid-summer to do so!
Tell me: What misconceptions of self (or other) are you letting go with the beginning of this year? What are you choosing, instead, to embrace?