Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Life - (that pesky process of making your own way)

I know this has been a long process, but something hit me this weekend – I have very little worries in life now. It’s not that I don’t have difficulties, but it’s just that I’m choosing not to worry about them. I think it started when I first gave myself the allowance to walk away from people and situations that I don’t want to be around. The next step has been to not beat myself up for what stage of progress I’ve been in. We all learn at different paces. Sometimes I wonder why I take these months off painting, but then I realize I’m cleaning out a house with 10 years accumulated stuff in it, I’m working on losing 100lbs, and I’m putting as much overtime in that I can so I can save for the move out West…I’m doing a ton of work.

I look back at times when I had to work on life stuff and didn’t work on dream stuff and I realized I spent a lot of my energy berating myself for not being productive. It’s amazing to see that one of my biggest obstacles was myself…

And now that I’ve gotten out of the way of myself, life seems to move at a pretty beautiful rhythm.

In the last year, I’ve not only spent a lot of time culling my possessions, but friends as well. I realized that I had always gravitated towards people who were a little more selfish and demanding than most and I would spend a lot of my time worrying about how to please them. I often did this at the expense of myself. Once I figured out that I'm better off without those encumberments, I have a lot more time to work on the things I love.

It’s nice, actually. Most days I just chill on the porch, sketching or looking in my microscope, learning as much as I can about art and biology… I feel like parts of me I thought long gone are regenerating…

One wonderful thing I have been reading has been “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson. I really recommend this for anyone who is involved in education (even students). I could summarize it in one sentence: Everyone should do what they feel is right. There’s more to it, though. The stories are so encouraging, so heartfelt, and for the first time I don’t feel like a freak for loving the weird things I do, or thinking the way I do. Robinson basically breaks down the fact that each of us has a uniquely developed intelligence and combining that with our unique perception of the world, he shows that each of us has something to contribute to the world. He also really emphasizes to educators that we shouldn’t fall into stereotypes when it comes to encouraging kids to think about careers. In the future, it will be probable that people will not only have multiple jobs, but multiple careers in one lifetime (due to readily available information and networking tools) So why are we teaching kids that they should just do one thing? Why are we limiting ourselves to just one career? Diversity and Creativity will be our greatest asset in the future…

It’s pretty amazing stuff, actually and it applies to so much. Often it is only ourselves that keeps us from our dreams. In the end, what grades you get and whether or not people think you’re successful doesn’t really matter. We have all read stories of people who force themselves to do “the right thing” whether it’s for financial stability or that it pleases their family, and they always end up regretting not living thier dreams. They always end up leaving the well-worn path to thier own personal one. Whatever the reason, if you hate what you are doing, none of your reasons will matter in the end. It’s just like Joseph Campbell says, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”

I sat for a long while and asked myself really, “What is my dream?” and it’s pretty much been the same thing since I could remember. I want to inspire people.

That’s it.

I just want to inspire others to be happy and think about beautiful things and I’ve pretty much spent 38 years chasing down what inspires me and figuring out why it does. Honestly, I have no idea if I will be an artist forever. I don’t even know if I will be able to make it as a professional, but I love it, so I’m going to try.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me for too long that I can’t or shouldn’t do things and I’ve just decided that I’m not going to listen to them…I think if someone shares with you thier dream, the best you can do is say go for it. Even if you think you know they will fall flat on their face, at least they will be doing something they love while falling. We all fall and make mistakes…I would think it’s much better to fall and be surrounded by self-satisfaction than loathing your decisions on top of your hardships.

My motto lately is if someone says “Hay maybe I can do this…”, I say “Go on and try it!”

Change cannot happen unless all of us go outside our comfort zone.

OK, so as I’m getting off this soap box, I just wanted to let you all know that I’m pretty much saying this for my benefit as well as sharing with all of you…the reason is that I’ve noticed a lot of people come up to me and try to tell me what I can or cannot do. I swear, some days I wish I had no sense of empathy so I could just block all of them out…but then again, that’s part of why I feel like it’s my job to encourage others.

So I say to all of you out there:

What is your dream?

Really, I’m serious, What is your dream?

….Now go on and try it.

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