It’s been an interesting week. I started off in a bit of a blue funk. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t distract myself with shopping or the like. I was stuck here with myself. It could have turned into a really ugly situation. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like being moody. But, something amazing ended up happening.
Three things really, but three things wound together into one life-changing realization. Not a big “we’ve sold everything and are joining a cult and moving to a small island off the coast of Africa after having a sex-change” kind of life-changing moment…this was a small, significant change in a way of thinking that makes good change possible.
First, I realized that I was really, really tired of the themed journal-a-day challenge I set up for myself. Not so much the journaling part, but the “bird” over and over and over again. I stopped doing them and then have been trying to catch up. Ugh!
Next, the Get Messy Journaling challenge for the week dealt with the topic of “what would you do if you had the courage to live your dream”…I’ve paraphrased a bit. We were also supposed to challenge ourselves to a new art technique. As I wrote yesterday, my first two pages were – not something I liked. I tried to create without paint and layers. I went for a plain background. I handwrote with pen and ink in a free word-association style reacting to the photos. The photos were of myself at two points in my childhood. One was a photo of myself as a young child before I have any real memories of life and the other at the beginning of junior high during a particularly unpleasant time. I know that nobody enjoyed junior high really, but this year of my life was particularly horrible.
And third, I read someone’s post about “having a habit or being in a rut”. I’m sorry but I can’t remember where I read it and I can’t seem to find it again. If and when I do, I will give proper credit due. It talked about the difference between doing something intentionally out of habit and repeating something without intention (being in a rut).
This is what I came up with after a day or two of thought:
- The journal pages had become a “rut” and thus, were boring. They all look somewhat the same. I wasn’t risking anything new or using it as an opportunity to learn. Of course, they were boring. I had simply turned it into a chore or task to be done…a check on a checklist. They were never supposed to be completed works of art, but experiments and practice. Lesson 1.
- The challenge was supposed to be exactly that – a challenge. What I had viewed as a disaster was actually a stunning success. It’s called art journaling for a reason. Art is only part of the picture. I stepped out of my comfort zone and pushed myself artistically and personally. Equally important: I participated in community by sharing of myself even though it was uncomfortable and difficult. Being a part of a community is not always comfortable (the rut). I needed to make an intentional decision to be part of the community. In the process I dealt with some personal stuff and took another step in my personal journey. Lesson 2 – the difficult personal one.
- Habits are good; especially if you deal with mood issues. Habits ground us and help us grow artistically. “Practice makes perfect”. But I need to avoid falling into a rut in my art making. I need to challenge myself and grow. This will mean taking risks and investing myself emotionally in my work. Lesson 3.
I’ve long hoped to grow in my art and infuse it with more passion and emotion…more of me. Now I know that, at times, that may be painful or difficult. I can do that and survive…grow. Living with intention is never “done”. It is a process, not a product.
Life and art -a process, not a product.