<<<< This page jumped out at me because it is something I have been saying to myself, and others, for years. It doesn’t matter, or maybe I should say “it shouldn’t matter” (because sometimes we all let it matter too much)… It shouldn’t matter what someone else thinks the words are to define you and it shouldn’t matter if someone else thinks the words you use to define yourself are “wrong”. I’m talking about words that big you up, make you feel good and words that maybe you don’t really feel you are worthy of but you aspire to them.
Words like gorgeous, writer, artist, photographer, painter, intelligent, happy, prosperous… add your own words – words that you want to be about you but you don’t have to brass neck to say, even to yourself.
Another sentence that jumped out at me was this:
“I love to get things done.”
I wrote it in my journal as a mantra for the year, and then I wrote:
“… but I don’t finish things!”
and then I thought:
“Not true, I finish more things than I used to.”
And I think about some of the other mantras and words that I have embraced and the fact that those come to me not because I was already living them, but because I needed to heed them, to give them energy, to let them guide me.
So I have added this new mantra to my list of ways I define myself because I have found that starting with the word, or the mantra, is part of the process of manifesting the things I want to do.
Does the way you define yourself deflate you, or empower you?
- A brass neck.
- At least one person who believes in you more than you do.
- The ability to let go of perfection thinking.
- The ability to ditch control thinking.
- Persistence – including working when feeling unhappy, upset, scared, tired, depressed or lazy.
- An inner, and sometimes outer, bitch.
- A ringfence around creative space.
- A ringfence around creative time
- Time off.
- The brass neck (see?) to define yourself and ignore the naysayers (within and without).
- Your own list…
Last week I was experimenting with constructing a bib necklace, partly because I wanted to try something different. I thought about moving away from the Rorschach technique I’ve been developing. The ideas for the bib style are still simmering away under the surface, but what I discovered last week is that I may have only scratched the surface of my swirly, mirror-image way of making pattern.
I decided to make a skull pendant to match a new top I was planning to wear at the weekend. So I picked out some clay and began to play. A random idea popped into my head and I went with it, and I discovered a new way of doing things. I’m still excited by the possibilities, still playing – and I’m taking notes because the first time I did it, I didn’t write everything down and it took me three days to rediscover what I had done – hooray for trial and error!
The reason I had to rediscover what I had done is that the first skull sold rather quickly after I posted in on my Facebook page!
With the second attempt, I tried a little silver powder to play with the eyes. I have other ideas about what to do with the eyes, and I think it’s going to be a piece by piece decision whether they need any enhancing at all.
I really like the fact that I have worked with this technique so much that I am now much more in control of the end result.
I was also over the moon when this one made it’s own eyes!
I work so often with the Rorschach technique, and I have developed my own techniques from the original method I read about some years ago, that I have become comfortable with the method. I know that I can mix the colours, and vary the amounts of colours in each blend, to create a striking effect. I know where I’m at, I know what I need to do to create a piece that pleases me.
I’m not done with the technique, it’s too exciting still to be finished with it. I like the random nature, the unique quality of each piece – and in this world of internet searches and copyists, I really like that each individual piece can only ever be one.
Yet I need to go away and try other things, learn new things and feel like a beginner again and that is what I’ve been doing today.
Yesterday I dreamed a different kind of ode to autumn, and I was reminded that every creative adventure involves an initial battle to render the predator. Just as I dreamed the necklace, I heard Bluebeard say “You can’t make that, you’re not entitled to make something like that.”
I didn’t ignore the inevitable interruption of the Critic, I took it as a sign that I was going in the right direction. Last night I drew some sketches and thought about how I would attempt this piece. Then I slept on it. I don’t remember much about my dreams, but I remember a voice complimenting me about colours. I must be going in the right direction if I’m dreaming voices of encouragement to balance the critical ones. When I woke up I knew that no matter how much procrastinating I might do, I would at some point go to the clay and start this experiment – and it didn’t take me long to get there.
As I was pottering about working out how to create the shape I wanted, and how to make the armature, and how to make the clay and the armature fit together so that all three pieces were the same shape… I realised that stepping out of the comfort zone and trying something new re-sets the pace. Every time I tried working at the pace I have built up with Rorschach techniques, I had to smoosh and start again.
I also had to let go of expectations – that it would work, that it would look good, that I would like it, that it would look anything like the idea in my head, that it would be finished today, that anyone else would like it, that anyone would want to buy it. (These expectations are just old Bluebeard in a different cloak).
I had a mantra going – “failure is fine and the first attempt, and possibly several other attempts, are how I’m going to get to Know What I’m Doing.”
So I’ve got a large (12cm / 5inches wide) piece that is now cured and ready to play with. I have a few ideas about how I want to mount it/string it and those will also involve experiments.
You may have noticed I’m working with my Warrior Woman archetype a lot. I think the Warrior Woman gets where she needs to go and cuts through the obstacles. She may not feel safe or comfortable as she moves herself forward but she moves whilst feeling the emotions that could hold her back.
In the past couple of days I have seen two people who I care about define themselves in a negative way. Part of me felt a little bit of pain that they would see themselves that way, and part of me – the Warrior Woman – thought “yes but if you say that about yourself then it will become true!”
It got me to thinking about the stories we choose to tell ourselves – and don’t for one minute think that it isn’t a choice – and how we define our own reality with these stories. If I tell myself, and everyone around me, that I am horrible* then I shouldn’t be surprised if some of those people take my comments at face value and decide to create a bit of distance from me. If I declare that no-one likes me* then I shouldn’t be surprised if the people who do like me feel a little hurt to be included in that and recoil. When that happens, I have created my own reality and built a wall between myself and someone else – and if I am truly investing my energy in the Victim aspect I won’t even see what I have done.
* I’m using examples, I don’t actually think these things about myself
I think it’s important to listen to the stories you are telling about yourself and be mindful about whether they are serving you well. If they are placing you in a “poor me” place, then they most likely aren’t. There is a time for sitting on the pity pot, but the only person who is going to take the dump and get you off is you.
Are you drawing an ugly house today? Are you going to erase it and draw a new one and get on with living?
I saved this one day after it was doing the rounds on Facebook. I can’t remember who posted it into my feed, or where they shared it from – so if this is yours and you want me to credit you/link to you please drop me a line in the comments.
I have it hanging on my “inspiration wall” – that’s where I stick things that speak to me in the hope that I’ll remember to look at them once in a while and give myself a jolt and this morning, this was the thing that jumped out at me. It inspired a couple of conversations on Facebook – some liking it, some disagreeing with it – and it got me thinking about it on different levels.
Presented as it is, the list suggests we should always be aiming for the left column – aiming to be “Successful”, and that all the things on the other list are “negatives”.
But who really ticks all the boxes on the left column every day?
And is that healthy?
Looking at the list, I can flip some of the “negatives” into “positives” – like the comparison between Embracing Change and Fearing Change. The way I see it, fear itself is not a negative, fear quite often goes hand in hand with embracing change. It’s good to be scared of some changes, so it’s more about whether the fear moves you on, or keeps you stuck.
Sticking with emotions, there is the comparison between joy and anger – joy being the “positive” and anger being the “negative”. Yet sometimes you have to be angry to get where you need to be. It is not the anger itself that is the “negative”, it is how the anger is used.
Then there’s the being organised (to do lists, goals and life plans) versus not being organised (flying by the seat of your pants). Well sometimes, especially if you are any sort of creative, you need to throw all the organised out of the window, put on a pair of rainbow pants and fly! That’s where the adventures are.
Most of the time I try to keep my work tables clear, clean and free. I like to come in here and feel like I have a blank slate to start with. I like to know where to lay my hands on the tools I need, or the materials I’m using. Today my tables have an array of things on them – half finished polymer clay focals, a tub of pottery I have collected from beaches and fields, a spread of broken stained glass, my collection of sea glass and another collection of glass tesserae mosaic tiles, beads, mosaic fix and grout and tools for around six different media. I’m having adventures stepping outside of my comfort zone and that, in itself, is success to me.
So having gone all analytical on this list, the way it works as a tool for me is that it reminds me that I have choices about things and that if I find myself with a lot of ticks on one side all the time, then maybe I need to flip it a bit and balance things out.
What do you think?
Have you noticed that life sometimes throws you a convergence of happenings, all with the same theme?
I’ve definitely got a prominent theme at the moment relating to carrying on no matter what life throws at me, rising above negativity and just being myself and doing what I want to do without letting internal, or external, forces tie me down. This is coming through in things that are happening in my life, conversations I’m having with others and things I am reading.
I was really touched to read a post from Tammy Vitale, an artist and woman who rocks, asking “What Is The Fear That Will Stop You?”
It’s easy to see people we admire as strong women, successful women and imagine that they live their lives, make their art, speak their truth without a second glance at the predator lurking in the shadows. For me the really strong women are the ones who say “I have fear but I do it anyway.”
I tend to think that if there is fear involved then there is more chance of finding something remarkable in the process. It’s challenging to put yourself out there and “be naked” in front of people – whether it’s expressing yourself as an artist, expressing a political viewpoint, or just standing up for yourself when someone has crossed a line.
Taking that step, stepping through the fear, leads you to far more places than if you sit back down and let the fear hold you.
“To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.” ~ Pema Chodron
What will you do today to take the next step on your journey?
“If you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you.” ~ Seth Godin
When I first read the Creative Every Day Theme for September is “Time” I baulked a bit. I find that particular reaction means I need to move closer to the thing, rather than away. It usually signals a chance to work with something that is holding me back. As I read the post, I smiled because working with Time is right on the mark of where I need to go next in my creative business life.
This year I’ve moved in leaps and bounds to put my art and creativity at the top of my To Do list. I’ve created a working space that is (almost) organised and developed a habit of clearing my tables every day so that each new day I walk into a clean slate. I find this works for me, even if I am in the middle of making a piece. There’s something in the ritual of laying out the tools, opening the boxes and choosing colours and moving from mundane to magic.
The problem is I seem to swing from not doing anything creative to only doing creative things – and life and business needs me to be doing other things than playing with the clay all day. Boring, but true. I need to keep the house vaguely presentable, I need to work in the garden, I need to walk the dog and be in nature, I need to read, I need to write, I need to find people who actually want to buy and wear my jewellery.
All these things take Time, and I’m looking for ways to fit it all in without driving myself into overwhelm and burnout.
So I’m following along with Leah’s optional theme, and working with some of the systems I have been trying out for better time management and looking forward to seeing more balance in my creative days.
How do you balance the Want Tos and Have Tos?