The Wishy Washy Path: Forging through Chaos and Clutter, Back to my Soul

Sometimes there is a wishy-washyness that washes over me. I need to paint. I don’t wanna paint. I’m spending too much time on the internet. I do want to paint, I just don’t wanna actually go into the studio to get started. I sit at my computer too long, obsessing over my to-do list, my eyes start to get tired, I start to get stressed and frustrated, and before I know it – I’m 1000% aggravated.


In an effort to take better care of myself, and really tune into what’s going on inside me, I’ve committed to a daily journaling practice. Every morning I write a letter to God, and pour my heart out. It’s where I lay my burdens down and cast my cares. It brings me a sense of peace and clarity, attuning me to what my soul’s craving.


And then I start my day. And I forget.


Something about my many emails, the ads, the notifications from USA Today, CNN, mixed with the latest sales from the retailers I love, mixed with reminders of workshops, e-courses and bill notifications are all just triggers. Some call them reminders, but for me they trigger a certain frustration about not having everything, not being enough, not doing enough. And I spiral out of control and delve headfirst into my emotions.


My emotions are exactly what led me to painting a couple years ago. I retreated to a room and painted my heart out. Since then, my love for painting has grown – and so have the challenges. This love of mine has blossomed into a full on passion, consuming my soul in a way that words can barely convey.


But the moment I decided to make this a business, and follow other artists who’ve done the same, the road has gotten a bit rocky. I look at their sales, their pretty-picture-perfect Instagram feeds, their followers and likes, and I feel like where they are now should be my destination. And boy is that a mistake. It literally bleeds the passion out of my work, and makes me focus on things that aren’t feeding my soul.


And if I’m not feeding my soul, then what the hell am I doing?


The inspiring, whimsical, poetic world that is my artist life can get tricky. I am always combatting a sort of guilt. And vulnerability. And shame. A notion that says I’m not really doing anything unless I am updating my website, marketing my next event, posting to social media three times a day and blah blah blah. Or the need to document everything, to “keep putting myself out there”, or that I’m a grown up just playing kid games and this is NOT a career path because I haven’t “made it.” It’s just too much for me at times, and in order to remedy it, I think I’ve got to plug out. And by plug out, I mean only do what I can do, and that’s it. No rules or formulas. Just me. Out of my head and into what I love – and that’s simply making things.


I do want to live from my art. I’ve just got to keep forging a path for myself that is defined by what works for me. And measuring my success by comparison to other artists isn’t what works for me.