Monday, June 28, 2010

Following my leadings

One of my creative bibles is Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  She outlines a 12 week program for accessing your creativity and becoming the artist you're meant to be.  The first time I worked through the book, I made a major life decision - I'd been substituting at a wonderful private school and had been offered a full time job there for the following year.  I also was beginning to play with polymer clay and was loving it!  It was a great way to express my creativity, and I was planning to try to join a local cooperative gallery soon if I were accepted.  When I was offered the full time job, I prayed a lot about whether to accept it or not - it was a great job with a great school, awesome people - everything about it was terrific - except that I wasn't sure I wanted to be tied down to a full time job.  I asked God to let me know if I should accept it or not.  That very day, right before I went to work to let them know "yes" or "no", I got a phone call from a tutoring student who asked me to homeschool her the next year - it would actually provide me with enough income from part time work that I could afford to do it and my art and support myself and the kids sufficiently.  I decided right then and there that God had just come knocking, and it was my very clear sign to NOT take the full time position.  That was in 1998.

This year I was again facing the possibility of a full time teaching job.  Again, it would be a wonderful job, wonderful school, wonderful people - a dream job, really.  I actually went through the process of putting in my resume for it.  The weeks ticked by.  I didn't hear from the school.  I kept thinking about whether I should continue the process or pull my application out.  I was excited about the possibility of teaching art - it's one of my very favorite things to do - and I figured I could probably teach it full time and still do my own art since teaching art isn't quite as grueling as teaching English, for example, and having to grade 50 pages in an evening.  I spoke with a friend who teaches art.  She disabused me of my fantasy.  She said she has been unable to do her own art and teach, and it's really hurting her emotionally and personally.  She loves teaching and is outstanding at it, but it's really painful for her to have given up so much to help kids find their creativity when she is not able to use her own as she wants to.  That was sobering.  Again I asked God to give me a very clear sign about the right step to take.  I again got a most delightful response - this was a few months ago - I sold 5 pieces in 5 days!  I'd never had that sort of run of sales before.  One sold online; three sold at a local gallery; the other sold from my studio - one was a color study, one a nude, and three were fruits.  It was miraculous!  I decided that was the sign I'd been asking for, so I withdrew my application and felt I'd done the right thing.  It's clear to me that God has plans for me and my artwork, and my job is to just keep showing up and doing the next thing that occurs to me (when I'm centered) and following that divine inner guidance - it hasn't led me astray yet.

A wonderful book, The Artist's Way, and a great way to live life following ones leadings...

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