Beginning with Acceptance

painting on a paper towel, close-up crop

painting on a paper towel, close-up crop

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.

Responses:

  • 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?

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4 thoughts on “Beginning with Acceptance

  1. Don’t set the bar too high. Goals are only goals if they are achievable. Be true to yourself and if you feel like sharing your creativity in stages, then do so. Personally I love to see the process people go through to make an image. MOst of all make 2013 a happy year!

  2. I am always impressed with the amount that you do and the progress that you make. A lot of the time you see these things as “no big deal” because from your stand point, everyone else can do it. The secret is that not everybody can. You’re my favorite part of this run down apartment complex that I catch myself long-term visiting at. We need to have a Bob Ross party when I finish cleaning up my lab. You know, wine and art. I hear they mix well. Also, keep track of your progress. Maybe make a mini-scrap book of it. Page a day that noise, even if you did absolutely nothing. Because come 2014, you’ll look back at it over a cup of hot cocoa and laugh to yourself about how much progress you can do in a simple year.

    As for myself, I choose to let go of the nay-sayers, the dead weight, and those who are just over all bad for me and stifle my development and personal growth.
    I plan to embrace that which one could consider an inner demon but I feel is more so just an extension of myself that is misunderstood. I am setting aside one day a month to just create. I don’t know what I plan to create. But a full 24 hours to isolate myself from the world (that’s where the misunderstood demon comes along. Most people get nervous if I lock myself in a room and don’t breathe a word to the outside.) and tap in to the inner most pats of me, and find a way to manifest them in to this reality.

    • You are so wonderful, Jackie. Thank you!

      You know my tendency to isolate sometimes, so I don’t even blink if someone holes up for a day (or days) at a time. Solitude can be great fuel for active creativity – whether it be writing, intense self-reflection, reading copiously, some form of visual artwork, or heck, even just cleaning/rearranging the entire layout of a room to enjoy some change – so long as you choose the day, rather than it choosing you. I think 24 hours dedicated solely to the creative act one day a month is both marvelous and brave; and, knowing you, there will be something amazing coming from it.

      As for the inner demons, I tend to agree. If they can be embraced and channeled, they can be strangely powerful. They are part of who we are, too. For many, I think the challenge may be in differentiating between the inner demon and the inherited inner critic. But inner demons unleashed, in a way that does no harm, have the power to destroy anything that oppresses you. They are a beautiful rebellion in an often uniform and repetitive world.

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