I've begun to notice that art is beginning to feel suspiciously like a job, something I have to do, not something I feel compelled to do out of desire and excitement and curiosity and all those other good things. I quit my tutoring job in January 2011 so I could follow my bliss and offer the world (and myself) a vision of such joy and contentment.
Taking on Beyond Barbie along with Not Barbie (the art show) at the same time was daunting, to say the least, and I think it got me into Accomplishment Mode. I had to DO many, many, many things each day, and I think I began to lose the excitement and curiosity and joy which led me to turn to art full time in the first place. I tend to be very driven when I have a goal, and my drive kicked into overtime for the aforementioned tasks. They turned out fantastically, and I'm very glad I took them on, but now that they're over (I took down the show in Williamsburg last Saturday and don't have any shows lined up for the foreseeable future), I'm taking some time to re-assess and to think about where I'm headed. I don't want to act out of compulsion or unconscious drive. I want to live fully conscious. When I stop for a moment, I notice I haven't been fully blissful lately - not that that's possible, I know, but it's worse that than - I've been pushing, pushing, pushing, and it has hurt.
On vacation at the beach, I remembered what it was to wake up excited about creating and to rush to the easel because I couldn't stand not to! I wanted to capture what I saw. It was captivating and fun! First time I'd had fun in a while. Instead I'd been coming out to the studio and getting to work on paintings I wasn't feeling fully invested in, doing them out of a sense of duty and "should". I was doing them with skill but not with passion. I always promised myself I wouldn't do that.
When we got home from the beach, Chris and I took some time to consider the next part of our lives. Where do we want to live? How do we want to live? Can we lead spirit-filled, joyful lives full of creativity and whimsy and delight? I sure hope so!
This week I've been meditating most days to try to tap into my inner knowing and to give myself a chance to slow down and consider what is itching to be expressed. We went to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens on Sunday just for something fun to do, and I couldn't wait to get back Monday to paint and draw the beauty I'd seen there. That day was a no-brainer! I'll post the pictures in tomorrow's blog.
The rest of this week, I've had meetings to attend and classes to teach, but I've tried to stay centered in joy. I've let myself rest when I was tired. I've taken breaks. I've stopped working at reasonable times. I've listened in to learn what I wanted to do and haven't guilted myself for doing it! And - no surprise here - I've had a lovely week. I feel invigorated and excited about today and looking forward to tomorrow. What a fabulous shift.
I hope I can remember the next time I'm feeling driven and burned out - STOP. Breathe. Listen to my still quiet voice inside. And do what it says. Sniff out whimsy. Follow my bliss. Get curious. And have fun!
(Oh yeah, one of my main prompts for figuring this out is that I'll be teaching a class called Learning to Follow Your Bliss at the Visual Arts Center starting Monday, and I figured I needed to be less than cynical when I do! Now I feel rejuvenated and like I understand the concept again. yay!)