Thursday, March 26, 2015

Just Take a Step...Any Step!

This week my kids are on Spring Break. I've done what I can to remain flexible and available to them so we can enjoy this last Spring Break before my son heads off to college.
We're hoping for some of this action (I took this shot last year)!

Amid waiting for kiddos to wake up from sleeping in, staying up late to chill with them, checking in with them after they return home from their adventures, and staying "on call" to play however they want to at the drop of a hat, I've continued to keep my Creating My Life Creating Challenge rolling. I find if I can take at least one step a day, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, I feel the joy and energy of moving into whatever the future holds for me. And this keeps me motivated.

Here are just a few ideas for small, simple steps I can take each day:
  • preparing a canvas for painting;
  • tearing out images from a magazine for future collage work;
  • writing a paragraph for an article or book idea;
  • entering a one-sentence blog concept into Blogger as a reminder for a future post;
  • sending a quick "thinking of you" greeting to a potential client, customer, or colleague via social media, email, or phone;
  • quickly drawing a concept in my sketchbook;
  • gathering magazine submission guidelines for potential articles.
Taking just one step helps me feel connected to the larger picture of the life that's evolving for me. And as I enjoy my children this week, I also feel the confidence and joy of knowing that my Creating My Life Creating Challenge continues to move forward. Usually that's enough. Other times I find that that one small step turns into two, three, or more--sometimes even a full-blown "walk"--as creative energy begets creative energy, I find myself in the flow, and I progress much further than I'd originally anticipated.

Kind of like sitting down to write this blog post. Who knew at the start it would end up this long?!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Living My Life Amid Creating My Life

The other day I received a request that I find 40-80 photos of my fine young son for a Senior Night montage.

Just a simple little task, right?

Because someone else has a great idea to honor my son, I have a little over a month to cull through thousands of photos, some digital, some print. And, despite my grand plans when my kids were babies, I hopped off the scrapbooking train years ago. Now it's simply a dot on the distant horizon, and our family pictures are disorganized and scattered in various places.

So, this will be something of a project for me. Add this to the list of getting my son's college details in order, planning his graduation party, and let's not forget that my daughter has her middle school graduation coming with all of its important details too.

Here's my to do list. I made it artful just because I had nothing else to do ;-)
Please don't hear this as me complaining. I want to engage this precious time of life. I want to feel its joys and meet its challenges. It really is only a few months that will fly quickly by. When they're gone, I know I'll wish I could have them back.

At the same time, I want to keep my eyes on the concept of creating my life. I feel a delicate balance here. This seesaw will swing back and forth with focus being evenly balanced and/or leaning heavily in one direction or the other. Part of my process is to discern which focus needs my attention this moment.

Hence the to do list (pictured). I am not a structured, organized person. I used to be, but I burnt out that muscle long ago. More recently I've learned to survive and thrive by intuitively determining what I need to do each day. But at this phase of my life, I'm fielding many requests, and I don't want to drop the ball, especially anything as precious as my children's graduations or future plans.

So, creating my life sometimes takes a back seat. And I'm developing a perspective in my mind and heart that accept this reality joyfully so I can fully engage in the tasks at hand (and the joy of crossing items off that to do list!).

Creating my life is just as much about enjoying this phase with all of its demands. It's about motherhood and actively engaging the transition I'm in, receiving the shift as it comes and proactively determining what kind of mother I want to become as my kids mature and fly the nest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Creating My Life One Step at a Time

Frequently when I begin a piece of artwork, I have a general concept of what I want to create and only a vague sense of how to get there.

And other times I only have a vague sense of what I want to create and no idea how to get there!

Like this piece:

I have no idea what I'm doing here! I just started creating a background for something because I liked how it felt to do it. I painted colors on the canvas. Then I ripped up pieces of paper--that definitely felt good!--and decoupaged them, as well as some washi tape, onto the canvas. I applied some rub-ons, then added some modeling paste applied through a stencil via a palette knife. And, voilá, the result above.

It's not yet finished even as a background. I need to do something to prepare the background to support a foreground image. I'm just waiting to feel what my next step is, and when I do, I'll take it.

This is how my new Creating Challenge feels. As I Create My Life, I am taking plenty of time to sense what needs to come next. Sometimes I feel I should spend plenty of time in thought and meditation, allowing the big picture to reveal itself. Other times, I only know the next practical step to take.

It makes this process of creating my life feel so artful, and I love that! I can embrace the unknown and believe that when I need to know my next step, I will. In the meantime, I have plenty to do.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Rainer Maria Rilke: 
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. 
And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
I've always resonated with this quote, but perhaps for the first time in my life I'm comfortable living it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Reticence and Resistance May Show Up in Creating Challenges


Two days ago I committed to a new Creating Challenge, one in which I Create My Life...AND BLOG ABOUT IT! WHAT WAS I THINKING???

Yeah, a little bit of reticence and resistance have set in.

I want to acknowledge this so I can move forward freely into this Creating Challenge.

I intend to fully engage with Creating My Life and sharing it with you my readers. I will endeavor to vulnerably share my process and progress.

As well, I want to honor that I am a private person. For many reasons, I've cultivated a reserve I am not completely willing to dissolve. I have personal feelings and proprietary ideas that require sensitivity.

That said, I commit to taking risks. I want to express. I will engage in the learning the balance of what belongs on the Interwebz and what belongs in my heart. I thank all of you in advance for witnessing my journey, including my potential stumbles. I promise I will learn from them!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Announcing My New Creating Challenge

A couple of years ago I engaged in a 365-Day Creating Challenge, one in which I created something every single day and blogged about it. I grew so much from that experience as a person and as an artist.

It's been awhile since I've wanted to commit to another Creating Challenge other than the five-day challenges I host each month via the Brilliant Chaos Facebook community. My 365-Day Challenge was a marathon, and I needed a breather and rest afterwards.

Now I find myself on the brink of another Creating Challenge, one that circumstances force upon me. This year we will launch our first child into the world, sending him to college this coming Autumn. Four years later, our second child will leave. I'm staring the Empty Nest in the face.

Before we had kids, I anticipated being a career woman during motherhood. And I tried. I freelanced as a writer and editor, then I became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. But raising two gifted (one twice-exceptional) children required more energy and time than I anticipated. And being a gifted adult, I had my own issues to address.

So, I surrendered my pride (best thing I could have done!) and became a--*gasp*--stay-at-home mom. I'm so grateful to have had the time, resources, and flexibility to play this role in my children's lives. They are two of the most amazing people I will ever know.

That said, with their impending transition into adulthood, I, too, have a transition before me. I find myself wanting to engage it proactively. So here's my new Creating Challenge: Creating My Life. I have already been doing this, truth be told. You are catching me in the middle of it. However, I just recently decided that I would blog about it. I imagine other folks are in a similar boat, and perhaps we can navigate these waters together.

I plan to share my process. Within the next four years, I want to have myself set up to make a living from my creative pursuits. I sense my life going in this direction, and I want to take that energy and leverage it.

Here's to leaping into the great unknown! I hope you join me!