No, this isn’t about food. It’s about Life with the big ‘L.’ I read one of Martin Seligman’s books, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, several years ago. He is the “father” of the positive psychology school of thought about people’s moods and ability to be happy. It’s a great book in a lot of ways but one of the ideas that has really stuck with me over the years was the notion that to fully engage with and enjoy your life you need to savor the moments. All of them. And you need to bask in the delights that cross your path everyday.
I regularly forget this advice and find myself sinking into a sluggish morass of self-pity and whining (not that those aren’t fun, mind you, but not exactly life-affirming). I stopped doing much real cooking or baking last fall. I was gaining weight from having so many baked goods around and my husband decided to lose weight so he stopped eating much of anything. It’s not much fun, for me, to cook and bake if there’s no one to eat it. I, of course, would eat it but it’s really more about the making it than particularly enjoying the food. I can be pretty satisfied with cereal for dinner most every night.
Plus I think I must be somewhat subject to SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or, at least, I seem to want to hibernate as soon as the days get short and the air turns chilly. And, okay you caught me, I developed an avid <ahem> interest in online poker. Wish I’d stayed with art. Or even cooking. Poker is a LOT of fun. A lot. But, it loses some of the fun when you lose. Everyday…losing. Not good for the soul. So, no more poker.
So, that left a bit of a void. Getting a new job has helped, naturally. It keeps me pretty busy. But it doesn’t satisfy that deep desire to create stuff. I’ve decided to not care that what I make gets seen, used or appreciated by anyone. What I like is making stuff. Don’t really care much what happens to it after I make it. And that’s helping free me up and stop judging everything I do. Judging yourself and your results is the bane of making art. Making art is about expression. Wow…writing that I realize that’s one of the PROBLEMS. I feel uncomfortable really expressing myself. Really putting myself out there in the world.
But no more. I’m resolved. I’m staring down the beginning of the last part of my life and it’s time to grow up and confront myself. To say this is who I am (whoever that turns out to be any particular day) and act in accordance with that!
Here are a couple of links to some young women who have really inspired me this week:
SuziBlu – a mixed media artist with a delightful personality. She encompasses enormous bravery in putting herself out into the world and sharing her art. She has some great online classes that are very fun!
Melanie Testa – is a fantastic fiber artist. Her book, Inspired to Quilt: Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery, is a wonderful insight into a layered approach to fabric art. She explains things very well and makes it all sound enthralling. She also has a DVD workshop (based on her book), Print, Collage and Quilt: Create Unique Art Quilts.
I’ve reorganized my “studio” (I probably should stop putting quotes around that and take myself seriously) and the painters (finally) left. I have lots of supplies and lots of ideas. I’m working on daily journaling (visual journaling) to get my hand back in and work on my basic skills. And, yes, I’m basking and savoring…and you should too!!