I am writing this post in the midst of controlled chaos. Namely, I am packing. Everything.
Last time I wrote I had just decluttered and sold my home. I did not have a new home to go to yet. Now I do. I also have a moving date, so I am packing with a purpose. The perfect thing about having already decluttered? No decisions to make about what to keep and what to let go. No decisions complicated by memories or by dreams yet to be fulfilled. That bit is already done. Yay!
I have a new home with my perfect, amazing, big-with-awesome-light studio. This is the studio I have been imagining since I began art school. Twenty-one years of imagining have created me this wondrous place. There is room for my writing desk and reference books. Room for my art table and easel and supply shelves. For my library. An area with sink and tiled floor for mucky projects. Storage space.
I saw a studio like this, owned by a master artist, a few years into my art practice. Always I have remembered it. Now I have one like it.
A blessing. A gift of abundance.
I am dancing inside.
I’ve heard tales of artists and writers who freeze up when they finally have the creation space of their dreams. Like somehow the expectations of results have been upped beyond what they can easily deal with, and it scares them into silence.
I’m mentioning this because when I first walked into this space I said out loud, “Too big.” It scared me, this huge lovely space made for creating. This perfect space that could be mine, and I was rejecting it. This space I had imagined, and I was turning my back on it.
But something interesting happened as I turned my back. I caught myself in the middle of no. I felt the abundance being offered me here in this light-filled space. I stopped, and I began to laugh. I began to feel joy. I began to dance with the possibilities of creating image and word right here. Right here.
In that moment, something unpacked itself and I saw it clearly. Old beliefs limiting my worth, my abilities, what I do and don’t deserve, what I can offer through my creativity, how big or small I should be. For the first time, these old beliefs stood fully in the light, and I discovered they are not mine any more.
Oh, I know their ghosts may still show up once in a while, as I create in my new studio. That’s okay. They no longer have the same power over me. When I see my beliefs clearly, I know what to do with them and how to handle the feelings they carry. I have choice. They won’t stay long, and I’ll wave goodbye as they leave.
Then I’ll go right back to creating.
A note re unpacking limiting beliefs:
Jennifer McLean teaches a gentle and effective method of releasing old beliefs, emotions, experiences, and trauma. Spontaneous Transformation Technique (STT) is an easy and quick process to learn and to use. I know, from personal experience, how beautifully it works in clearing creativity blocks and glitches that slow us down and limit our creative lives. As a Certified Level 2 Spontaneous Transformation Technique Practitioner, I use STT’s powerful process in my creativity workshops and coaching. This link will take you to Jennifer’s information page. http://go.spontaneoustransformation.com/powerhealing
We share a home with another couple. Upstairs downstairs. We’re the downstairs pair.
The upstairs pair headed out yesterday. Holidays. We’re caring for their place while they’re gone and, more important, caring for Lady.
Lady is a rescue dog. A beauty, both inside and outside. All black but for a medallion of white at her heart, and white at her chin and nose. Age marking her. Her head reaches above my hip when she leans against me, hoping for treats.
We are part of Lady’s pack. She loves nothing better than when all her pack is together, talking, laughing. She goes from one of us to the next, collecting maximum head and back and belly rubs. She, a lady of venerable age, becomes all puppy when this happens. Dancing on our toes, thumping against our legs. Tongue hanging out in sloppy dog laughter. Love and perfect joy.
Our upstairs friends are the alphas of Lady’s pack. Her true loves. Her rescuers. Lady pines for them when they are away.
She lets us distract her with our love, attention, treats, walks, and rubs. And then she goes back to the front deck, or the upstairs door, or the end of the grass by the road. Watching. Waiting.
I watch her from our front window. Lady at her vigil. My heart is heavy for her. I know that vigil and that aloneness. I would take away her pain, if I could.
They’ll be back soon, I tell her.
I rub her head, her soft chest, her back and belly. Give her two treats. Give her my heart. Watch her walk back to the end of the grass and sit down.
Think The Wizard of Oz. The 1939 movie with Judy Garland as Dorothy.
Dorothy and Scarecrow and Tin Man are walking through a forest. It is creepy. The light is dim. They start talking about what might be hiding. Lions. Tigers. Bears. Oh no! They manage to scare themselves silly by the end of the scene, even though there are no lions or tigers or bears. The Cowardly Lion, who they eventually meet, is nowhere near scary.
This is what I have been doing the last two months. Scaring myself silly. Imagining lions and tigers and bears. Blocking the writing on my book.
I’ve been doing other things instead of my book. Useful good things, I tell myself. Yes, true, they are. But it is odd how I do those useful good things first, plan to get to my book writing second, and somehow never get there.
I’m watching this happen. Two months of watching and not doing. I can’t seem to break the pattern. I’m not choosing to. What is stopping me?
Over my years of creating, I have run myself into blocks and scared myself a lot. I see what’s happening and I find my way through. Every time. Except now.
I could blame it on the fact that this is my first experience writing the second draft of a book. I don’t know what to expect, don’t yet know my process for this kind of creating, or how long it might take me. I do know this long at not-writing is too long.
I loved school and I believed in school, so I got myself accepted to university and started my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I thought courses and a diploma and those letters, BFA, after my name would make me an artist.
I thought being an artist came from outside. Like being knighted. I dub thee ‘Artist’. One of my art teachers would surely tell me, ‘’Cat, you are an artist.’’
All through that year, I hoped someone would see me, the artist me. I didn’t say it out loud, or whisper it. I never wrote it down on paper or the covers of my sketch books or a bathroom wall. Tell me I’m an artist.
I was so desperate for this, it must surely have been printed across my face. It must have leapt out of every piece of art I created (both the amazing and the dreadful) and every essay I wrote.
It didn’t happen. No one said these magic words.
I left the Fine Arts Department after that first year. I got my diploma in Business Administration instead, and went to work for the government.
I know it does. My faith has helped me create mountain-sized things in my life. Many of them.
My faith not only moves mountains. It is the mountain on which I stand. From the top I see 360 degrees, full circle. I see exactly where I am here, now. See all the possibilities. I feel into my heart, my passion, while standing here. What do I love? And there, yes, way over there, something lights up in the distance. That’s where I want to go. There’s my desire, my direction, my creation.
Now I have a creation journey ahead of me to reach what I see shining in the distance. This journey is easy. I create it, walking one step at a time.
Before I take the first step, I pack up my faith mountain. Yes, this mountain is very flexible. I can squash it all up, the whole thing, and fit it into my backpack. You’d think a mountain compacted to backpack size would not be going anywhere. But my faith mountain weighs nothing. This is a floating mountain. A helium balloon of a mountain. It carries me.