While waiting for the police to sort out the other two cars, I had plenty of time to think, and I thought I'd revisit yesterday's blog post that I feel touched a lot of artisans in one way or the other -- the ups and downs of how we feel about what we do.
|One of the "things I do", for sale here.|
Yesterday, I wrote about striving to be the best you can be, and not letting others define what you think you SHOULD be. In other words, don't compare yourself negatively to others.
Now, there's nothing wrong with admiring people and aspiring to be like them. For instance, I aspire to have the design talents of my best friend, Cindy Wimmer. I aspire to have 1/176,564th of the talent of lampwork artist Dora Schubert. However, for me and my personality, those are healthy aspirations. If I get there, fine. I rather think I won't. But the key? I'm totally ok with that. The problem comes when you are so obsessed with what you can't do or what you think you can't do that you don't see what you can do.
|Jewelry by Cindy Wimmer, Beads by Dora Schubert|
When I first started getting into the creative field in 2003-2004, I kept hearing this phrase, "Find Your Bliss". At first, I had no idea what the heck that MEANT. I mean, my life had been pretty cut and dried. I was an Air Force veteran, pre-med student, and IT business manager. None of those exactly smacked of sitting around and having a heart-to-heart with artists about their bliss. I mean, the closest I got to that was leaning over an unidentified alcoholic Korean juice drink and talking about how blissfully happy we were not to be stuck back in our hometowns!
So here we are. You've found my blog, somehow, so let's talk about what "bliss" means.
|My husband, Zack, and me, circa 2003. Photo by Jen Fariello.|
Bliss comes in many forms. If you find yourself worrying yourself to death about your craft, perhaps it's time to look around you and regroup. You may be overlooking some things that can help you re-center, show you what you already have, and guide you back --- either back on the road to what you've been persuing, or perhaps, onto a new road.
|Photo by me, on New Year's Day|
So what will be on your list?
1. I love to garden. My flowers make me happy.
2. My book collection makes me feel smart.
3. I can decorate a home to make it feel cozy and welcoming.
4. I can cook like a Cordon Bleu graduate.
5. I'm the mom all the kids love to hang out with.
(this isn't my list, but could it be yours?)
As you can see, your Bliss List can be anything at all -- anything that makes you happy. The things that make you, well ... you. An individual.
And now comes the object lesson. Take what makes you YOU, and apply it to your artistic life. Strive, but be smart about it. Keep your heart and your head in check. Allow yourself the right to fail. Allow yourself the right to feel sad. But then, look at your Bliss List. Look at your STRIVE notes. And choose the path that best fits you.
Don't give up on your dreams. But if you find yourself side-tracked and despairing of "making it" (whatever "making it" may mean to you), stop and look at your Bliss List and remind yourself of the things that are important to you, the things you love, and see if maybe you deserve a break. As a lovely friend said to me, you can't be ON 24/7, 365 days a year. You just can't. Be gentle to yourself. And believe in yourself.
Thank you all for reading these past two posts, and I hope it resonates with someone. I know that it's helping me to write it and read it, and now I must own it. Don't think for a second that just because I write this means I have it all figured out! Oh heavens no. I suffer the same doubts and fears and "I'm going to go eat worms just back off" feelings. I slip up. But today, I did something important for my Bliss List.
I bought this book.
See, on MY personal Bliss List, I penned, "I love to write". And I've always wanted to write a memoir, starting from my entering the Air Force to my running away to Italy to my travels to Japan to my fall head-first into the despair that ultimately led me to the healing love that is my husband. And in the meantime, I'm going to try and find one magazine that will be interested in a guest columnist once in a while. How? No idea.
But it's on my Bliss List. And my Strive note.
Hugs and much love to you all for being my first readers.
Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off. She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene. She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.