Seeing through the color blue

Life is complicated. I find myself weaving through the noise to find a way to just be. As a small business owner, it seems to be about searching for the special sauce, the recipe that will help me be successful, the MOST successful.

We are bombarded by messaging on an entirely new level. Social media has taken over life in so many ways. We follow people and messages we are attracted to, interested in, and curious about. And before you know it, that curiosity has become a new addiction. We scroll through aimlessly when in reality, if we are just centered. Listened to ourselves and practiced our authentic fingerprint the harmony would align to our beautiful lives.

Without consciously doing so, I often find myself in comparison. I am not enough, I am not successful enough, I am not generous enough, I am not in enough galleries, I am not known enough for my art, I am not talented enough, I am not… you get it right?

This not enoughness seems to lead to a host of other things. It feeds the depression monster and smothers creativity. It diminishes the ability to any sort of forward movement ultimately leaning into what can be perceived as more failure.

Well doesn’t that just stink?

The trick seems to be to see clearly regardless of the filters that might challenge us. It is perspective. It is an objective perspective.

As an artist, when I am struggling with a piece, I often take a photo of it on my phone. The camera doesn’t lie. It shows the good, bad, and, well… ugly. It shows what needs improvement, but also shows the success.

Speaking of success. Isn’t that a whole bunch of perspective too?

When I see through the blue… I cannot see any success. I am not a millionaire, I am not famous, I am not special. But is that success?

When I fully dive in, even through the blue, I can see that I have grown so much as an artist. I have grown as a human. I can pay my “art bills” with art-related income. I have an expansive collection of art created (and has been collected nationally and internationally), I have awards graciously given by my peers, I began and have a greeting card company, and have the opportunity to venture into the “dream ” or “heart” projects- (my Affirmation decks) for one. I make my own schedule (which is still too busy) – but… I would say, I am doing okay. Blue and all.

Here’s my point. Don’t listen to the lying brain. She’s not a nice person. She believes in all the comparison cultures, the banter on the internet, the lies.

Take a moment, to see through the blue. See how far you have come, see the good you put out into the world. Celebrate that. I believe in you.

Sending you so much love,

Susan

Celebrate the growth!

Have you ever noticed how growth happens sometimes before you even recognize it? Lately, I have witnessed growth around me with something as simple as watering my plants. I am surprised and delighted by a new leaf, a new stem, a new bloom.

It occurs to me that I don’t always recognize growth within my journey, my path. It is easy to see the mistakes and the failures, it isn’t always easy to recognize the growth. Today, in my journal, I took note of what progress I have made and how I have grown recently.

Today I encourage you to take stock. Today, recognize how far you have come from even a month ago, a year ago…We are a work in progress! Every moment is a new opportunity. (Have a great day!)

#growth #celebrate #bloom

Welcome to the dark side…

Last night I gave a demo at a local shop for creatives. It was a mixed media demonstration that I have given dozens of times before.

I will be completely transparent here…It’s been a rough few weeks. There have been deaths, sickness, and heartache, and well, it’s January dipping into February in Rochester, New York. So, everything is GREY!

Interestingly enough when I was setting up, there were a couple of other artists in the room. We were talking about how important making art was for us and how vulnerable it is to do a demonstration or create in public. We talked about how that can lead to imposter syndrome and well- I then confessed that I had been struggling. I wondered if I had anything to offer the world. Was I making a difference? My fellow artists were very supportive and sort of laughed at the notion. But sometimes it is hard to see value or accomplishments when life is such a challenge.

I decided (what was I thinking?!) it would be a great idea to start with a blank canvas. I generally do not do this. It is easier to show progress if you have the basics at least started. However, I paint rather intuitively so, I felt that my spirit would take over and it would go fine.

prepared for demonstration

Welp. Paint and medium take a bit to dry. So a twenty-minute or even an hour demonstration was not going to be all that impressive. I got in my head. (surprise?) It was difficult to show real results with slow-drying media. Add that to the fact that I was carrying a lot of sadness, and well, to say I was unhappy with the results is probably an understatement.

I am old enough to know that everything has something to teach me. I can still hear my mom ask me what I was grateful for every time I complained about nearly anything. So this is what I learned…

First, I am not alone in doubting myself. Perhaps the real lesson here is to just be. Art has a way of healing. For me, it isn’t a performance it is a path, a process. That is exactly what I was there to share.

Secondly, my husband often suggests that I am “too hard on myself”. Maybe. More to the point. I think when I spin in the negative cycle I get in my own way. Art is healing and joy for me. It is part of my spiritual practice. It is a life-giving activity for me. When I get in my own way or lead with expectations that muddies the water and the pressure is too great. Perhaps if I just took a deep breath and worked through the process I was there to share, I would have been happier with the results.

Lastly, I am grateful. Last night wasn’t perfect, but it did teach me a lesson. It taught me about myself and about others. It made me realize that I am not alone in my self-doubt, I am just working on the journey like everyone else is. That said, I showed up, I shared the process, and well… I started a painting.

Be gentle with yourself… we are all in this together.

Sending so much love,

Susan

it’s a start!

Welcome to July…

These last four months have been some of the most challenging of my entire life. I find myself literally feeling “all the emotions” all in one day. It is like riding a roller coaster that never ends and is not nearly as fun as a real roller coaster. I feel hope, joy, courage, and also, discouragement, despair, and depression.

The ramifications of the Corona Virus are far reaching. It is not just the disease itself, it is the consequences to our hearts, our minds and our spirits. It is the loss of those we love, it is the lethargy of life, it is the holding our breath waiting normalcy.

Like many of you, I have used this time to work on “me”. To separate out the negative and work wholly on the positive. To grow, to learn, to evolve. I suppose these are lofty goals during a time where many days I feel like I am trying to keep my head above water. Growth always seems to happen best for me in adversity. This is adversity. This is a huge challenge.

I find that I cannot manage too many things at once, (when at one time I considered myself quite the effective multi-tasker). I allow distractions to work against the progress, I get wrapped up in the silliest of things and this defeats me and welcomes in the negative emotions, depression, and anxiety.

I guess I feel like somehow I should be better than this. My lists (there are many) of goals should be completed and sparkling. It is almost like I think I should not be affected in any way by a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. I should be in harmony, changing the world, in an Olympic quality healthy body, successfully growing my business, and… Well, you get the idea.

The external influences (social media, obligations, pandemics, you know- all the things) stir the pot even larger. It creates the ramp-up of whatever I am feeling much more intensely. Often these are negative influencers rather than positive.

My husband has always said that I perhaps should be a little more gentle with myself. There are times I can honestly say I am not even sure how to go about this. Another nugget of wisdom he shares is that I should ask for what I need. (In theory, I UNDERSTAND what that might be) In these times of global challenge, I believe that the identification of needs can be difficult.

My challenge for each of us:

If you listen to any “expert” they will share with you that any positive change makes a difference in your well being. I will be completely transparent to say that the things that frustrate me most these days are my environment and my lack of balance.

I feel like both are reflective of the internal weirdness that I am currently caught up in. It is up to me to stop the struggle and find a way back to harmony.

Today is July first. The sun is shining, the Rochester morning air is crisp and cool, it’s my nephew’s birthday (Happy birthday, Jake!) and it is the beginning of a brand new set of thirty-one days. It is a clean slate in many ways. (as every single day is!)

I seem to be one who enjoys launching a new initiation at the beginning of something. So today is the day! I invite you to join me.

July for me is about harmony. The three things I see as having me most imbalanced are as follows-

My physical well being. Prioritizing my health has always been a struggle for me. We could dissect the psychological reasonings, but in many ways, it would be one more distraction. I could tell you ad nauseam why I don’t prioritize my physical self. However, it is time to make a change. For the month of July, I commit to doing that. I will keep track of the positive things I do for my body. Hopefully, in the next thirty-one days it will be a habit, not a challenge. I invite you to join me in doing this.

My balance of work/life. So, this year my business is ten years old. It has become a huge focus for me. During the pandemic it has become a greater focus. I work seven days a week, many many hours a day. If I am not actively working, I am thinking about working. Yet I find that I am not reaching my intentions, I am not finishing as many things as I hoped.

This is multi folded- first, I AM ONE PERSON- doing the job of probably three or four without the expertise of the aforementioned individuals. Also, without balance you are ineffective! (which is why social media, words with friends, and solitaire become so gosh darn dangerous!) I think to myself, I “deserve a break”- well yes, I sure do, but a real one, not a chew up my time and gain nothing from it kind of break.

So… I will work daily on a new form of balance. I will create this habit as a way to manage my business and become more effective. (and chill too!)

My environment. I have spent most of my adult life thinking that this house/apartment is temporary. We want something bigger, different, in a different location, or whatever. So, I exist there instead of living there. I have boxes full of my parent’s home as well. Still. in. boxes.

Also, when I moved to my new studio in February, I moved in five days before the grand opening of the new collective. So while I am there, I am not moved in. I don’t have my everything in containers, with labels and neatly stacked in my storeroom. Again, I want to live there.

So. Daily, at home or the studio, I will do something to improve my environment. I believe that the opportunity is great here. I NEED this. I believe many other things will fall into place once some progress has been made.

So, welcome, July. I know and appreciate that these days are difficult. The uncertainty tears at our very souls, but I maintain we still have a great amount of power. We still have so much opportunity. I hope you see that too.

Will you join me? Will you seek a little more balance ? I would love to support you and would welcome your support of me. One step at a time, my friends….

Sending you so much love,

Susan

P. S. To help you see your progress- I have created this so you can see all your efforts in a wonderful and visual way! xo