Friday, April 29, 2011

The Highs and Lows, Part 2 : Finding Your Bliss

Yesterday, after my computer completely crashed (I'm now on my husband's, hoping my external backup works -- it's been plugging away over 24 hours now), I felt like going for a little drive.  While waiting at a stop light, my car was crashed INTO (I am completely fine!).  Crash upon crash.  Whee!

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. 


  1. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Thank you so much for this inspiring post...I am going to work on mine right now...

  2. Good heavens - you had a really productive car crash! But seriously, thanks for the message because often I fall into the rut of despairing about what I can't do. Really I need to think of some of it as "what I can't do yet," and the other part as trying to be as good as I can. I certainly never set out to do the beads and wire and clay and all the other jewelry arts in order to do anything other than have fun and keep learning.

    If you've been on the receiving end of a crash, make sure you take care of those aches and pains if you have them (I hope not!).

    Thanks so much for putting the art and the craft in perspective.

  3. I hope you write that memoir someday because I'd really like to read it.

  4. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Thanks again Lori, glad you are well. And I second that motion of reading your book! Can we pre-order...

  5. OMG, glad you are ok! I love your post. I would love to read your memoir too!

  6. First, I'm glad you are OK after the crash. Thanks for such inspiring post. I really know that you'll be able to write your memoirs and the journey will be amazing. I received your card. Thanks, Norma

  7. Any magazine would be lucky to have articles written by you. You really have a touch. Glad you are ok.

  8. A wonderful blog. It sounds like to me, that you have your head screwed on right. You always make me feel bettter. A columnist sounds just right You go girl. Be Blessed

  9. Lori, goodness, I'm glad you are okay following that car crash! Those things are always so scary, regardless of how serious the crash itself is. And thank you, once again, for such a wonderful post! You are indeed inspirational.

  10. I have absolutely no doubt that you'll accomplish both the memoir and the column-writing gig. I believe in the law of attraction and the power of positive thinking and all that jazz, and what you're doing is putting it out there so it's attracted to you. It will happen. I just know it. GO!

  11. I have a similar book on my shelf -but for now my blog is my memoir but its on the shelf to remind me to not forget what I will do someday.

    I hope the challenging times are almost over for you but good that you made those lemons into a lemon martini! Most be a fancier name for it...

  12. That is the cutest Zack face!! love, love it ... glad you're okay, happy that you share and I'm taking your button over to my place right now.

  13. I'm so glad that you're okay! Sorry about the crashes! That must be a lot to deal with.

    And yay! I'm so happy that you've decided to write a memoir. I know I'd love to read it! You really seem to have an effortless knack for writing, along with your jewelry making =]

  14. So glad everyone is ok, and thank you for keeping my insanity in perspective! Have a great weekend!

  15. So very glad you are ok Lori!!! Thank you so much for writing about this topic...

  16. Lori,
    You have so many talents. I will listen to your words and try not to compare myself to you but, my gosh, girl, there is not too much you can't do. I am in awe...and very glad you are ok!

  17. I am totally in love with the idea of a Bliss List :)

    Thanks for spreading such good energy!!

  18. I love your writings! They give so much to think about; my bliss list is quite clear and not too short ;-D

  19. The Mom all kids like to hang out with, huh? Well, in that case I think you pretty much already are the best person you could be! (even though I can't figure out why life keeps throwing all that $&%£ at you recently... not fair!)
    You are really inspiring, and I will make sure to subscribe to the magazine you will (!) be writing for. And I shall keep my eyes peeled on Amazon for that book of yours- get writing already, we don't have all day! ;)
    I feel like you just sat me down with a nice cup of coffee and put my head straight about a few things, and boy, that's a good way to start my day! Thanks for another lovely, inspirational post, you are a darling.

  20. This is a wonderful post. I am going to work on my Bliss list today. I would love to read a memoir of you. It is amazing to hear the stories of strong women who served in the Military. The bracelet in your blog, is beautiful. Have a wonderful weekend Lori!

  21. Thank goodness you are ok. I hope you do write your story, you have a gift for it, plus I'd like to hear about that Italian sojourn...! We are all at the stage we are meant to be at I think, comparison is so detrimental.. It doesn't hurt to want to improve though! We all need something to aspire to!

  22. What a fabulous post Lori...I've been doing a great deal of thinking myself lately!!! I think I should be doing a list...

    Happy to hear you are OK, ya know they say things happen for a reason???

    I love the idea of you writing a book. I would love to read do have a way with words I don't think you will have a problem being published.

    Enjoy your day...

  23. Three cheers for you!

  24. These two paired posts have really spoken to hit right at the heart of some things I have been struggling with myself. I'm so inspired by your ability to turn that crash into something positive. Your words have given me some things to think on...thanks so much for being you.

  25. Lori, thank you for this thoughtful discussion. It makes me think of a piece of art I made for my daughter a few years ago when she was first figuring out what she wanted to do in life. It said "believe in yourself and follow your heart." I think you must first value yourself before you can do anything at all creative or otherwise and then you must look into your heart to see what feels right to you. In other words, it takes an internal validation of the very unique special you. From there all good things, great and small, flow.

    Rattling on here, I'm afraid :-)

  26. I love your posts. They're spiritual, real, and uplifting. What a great thing to do, finding meaning in your 'crashes.'
    I would love to read your memoir.

    Love and Light.

  27. Friend, you're amazing! Love this post - it's got so much to ponder.

    And I'm sorry about the car accident! You sure you're okay?

  28. Sorry about the accident- that type of thing shake me up even when everyone is okay.

    Also, I love that family picture! Your son must be about the same age as mine- he is going to be 8 this year.

  29. It must be the way the earth, moon and stars are lined up . . . this is a "life energy feeling" that I am hearing from so many these last few days. I am right there with you.

    You said it so well.
    Now, if we were just close enough for a cup of tea or late night by the fire glass of wine . . . we would have soul searching, laughing, crying good conversation.
    Glad you're okay after the crash.

  30. These posts--all of your posts--speak to me because they feel so warm and honest and true. No posing, no proselytizing. You got it, girl. I'D buy your book!

  31. I am SO happy I found your blog because you helped me find ME! Wow. Thank you.

  32. WOW, glad to hear you are ok. Hugs!

    Beautiful post. =)

  33. Oh Goodness! I am sure that glad that you are okay.

    Thank you for such an inspiring post and I will be keeping an eye out for that book of yours.

  34. I love reading your blog! It always lifts me up, makes me think,and sometimes laugh out loud :D Thanks for another inspiring note. I needed it today and now I'm off to make my bliss list...


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