I had the thought recently that i work very hard to be happy. How happiness does not always arrive when i wake up (i’m quite often a grumpy morning riser). It’s a “wicked pissah” to use east coast jargon, when I have to wake up super early and don’t have time to be sloooow, piddle and drink caffeine.
This thought occurred to me because I hope I put out there in the world my happiness. My paintings are happy (maybe some are dark or have a twinge of sadness too) and I use a lot of exclamation points sometimes to communicate excitement!!!! For those of you who don’t know me personally or know my life story, you may think i’m super. happy. all. the. time! Not so. I consciously work at it. Not by denying the sh**t in life, but by looking at it and working to transform it and connect with others around it in a healing way.
I’ve been reading Brene’s “Gifts of Imperfection”
since I got it a couple of days ago. I’ve underlined the heck out of it! one of the things she wrote that spoke to me was the idea that we are ” …worthy now; right this minute. Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.”
These were some examples that spoke to me:
* I’ll be worthy when I lose 20 lbs.
* I’ll be worthy when I can make a living selling my art.
and this one really got me thinking…
* I’ll be worthy when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying.
Um, how many of us have had that thought? That the things that matter most to us, we often want them to look effortless and like the opportunities fell in our laps!
To be real… when I lose weight, it’s because I’ve been diligently cutting back and exercising A LOT. Right now I’m enjoying food A LOT and exercising occasionally, and if I were to lose weight I would brush it off like it was no big deal, when it would mean 100’s of hours of exercise and willpower devoted to it.
The 2nd example is HUGELY pertinent around feeling worthy for me: when I can make a living as an artist… and not just a meager living, but one where I have stability, savings and comfort and ABUNDANCE. I work so hard trying to make a living as an artist, and yet don’t share here my horrifying to-do lists and energy spent making my art look EASY. Nope.
Not to mention the years of torment deciding to follow this path and believing I could, years building my portfolio, many thousands and thousands of dollars going back to art school and the years upon years of living rent check to rent check as an artist couple buying supplies and paying for a studio space to create. Oh my, I could go on, couldn’t I? As all you artists know, it ain’t easy, yet we may make it look like it is and perhaps that’s a disservice. I obviously love making art and it is my passion, but it is absolutely not easy and has required a whole lot of sweat and tears and dedication. It’s been totally worth it, but not easy!!
The other aspect of my life that I pretend is effortless is being happy. People, I have therapist(s), an acupuncturist, a creative coach, a supportive art agent, and a ton of creative support groups and friends that I regularly attend to keep me sane/happy and I work very hard being intentional and looking for happiness in all the ordinary spaces. Plus I have a regular practice of gratitude here and in my journals.
Recently I wrote a list of tragic things that I have experienced in my life (we all have them) and it filled a page and it was ugly. Then I remembered I have dozens of gratitude journals filled to the brim. Mixed in with sketches and venting, but I have so much gratitude for it all. All of it. I’m especially proud of the hard work it’s taken on my path to be happy, healthy and whole.
here’s a Perfect Protest pic of me and my AWESOME intern fanny (who um MET THE AVETT BROS this weekend!!). we realized after painting this giant canvas with our fave collective color turquoise, that oops, it’s backwards in the iphoto 🙂 alas… to imperfections!!! we are too busy writing backwards to be perfect!
translation: we’re too busy getting our paint on to be perfect and too busy having fun to be perfect!
(don’t fanny and i look a little like sisters here?)