a hope or ambition of achieving something.
Gotta love the New Year, it’s just such a perfect let-go-of-all-the-old-crap-and-start-fresh point in time. All the sucky parts of last year get to be swept under the big ol’ hand-braided rug of In the Past, and all those things you didn’t achieve, or even get to, they can go back on your New List(s)! If you want them to…or they can go under the rug too.
I don’t really make resolutions anymore, but I do write down something more like aspirations, Things to Reach for BUT it’s OK if I Don’t Quite Succeed. I like that the definition of “aspiration” has the word “hope” in it. A resolution is “a firm decision”…way too much expectation of success riding on that for me.
In addition to getting back on track with my practices that help make me happy (been a little off course), my list of aspirations includes:
- Keep up the blog, write consistently.
- Engage more, with social media, other artists, and followers. I’m shy and introverted in person, and tend to lurk rather than engage online. I’m much better than I used to be, but have a ways to go in the “social” department.
- Play with creating larger, more loose abstracts (the Big Art Project was inspirational!)
- Submit work to more juried art shows. I have not been proactive about this, and feel the need to push myself in this area.
- Get clean and organized. A rather vague goal, but seriously, our house is a Mess. The studio is getting better, but needs some more work. I feel strongly that if we can get more cleanliness and order around here that this will help boost my mental state towards the positive and help me be more productive when I’m working.
- Be curious, not fearful.
Choose Curiosity over Fear
Perhaps due to Life events this past year, with family in particular, over the last couple weeks I’ve been feeling this low, constant humming of fear, anxiety, and vulnerability. It sits in my stomach, and sometimes when I wake up in the morning, in that first moment there is a split second current of fear that jolts through me as if something evil and dangerous was chasing me in my dreams. I can distract myself with tasks and chores, parties and conversations, but every moment, every day, has been feeling…tenuous. Like the thinnest of threads. Which, in reality, this fragility is and always has existed, but I’ve become more aware of it (Time is ticking!)
Today was better as I got back into a routine and started working on some of those aspirations above, including that last one: I want to actively cultivate curiosity as an antidote to my fear.
While I was embroiled in the beginnings of my blog, struggling with a laundry list of fears, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. The book was so in tune with my inner state at the time, it was truly like magic (I love it when the Universe puts a book, a piece of art, a person, a movie, a song, in front of you at exactly the right time.)
In an online interview for NYmag.com, Gilbert states
I have a tremendous amount of respect for my fear, and even gratitude for it — we all hate it so much, but we also have to take a moment once in a while and thank it for the reasons it has saved our lives. No, you’re not getting in the car with that guy, you’re not walking down that suspicious-looking street. We’re all here because our ancestors had fear in our lives.
So you can’t just throw it away, and you can’t really hate it. It’s just that it doesn’t have a lot of subtlety — it’s a really old part of our brains, it’s not very sophisticated software. So what you have to do is appreciate it, and then try to have a conversation with it. I know that you are very vigilant. All I’m trying to do is write a poem here. No one is going to die from it. It’s just a toggle switch. It’s having a very gentle conversation with that reptilian part of me to say, Thank you, but your services are not needed.
“Thank you, but your services are not needed.” I really like that response to fear. And it applies not only to fears surrounding creativity, but also those free-floating fears, that humming I’ve been feeling that has no tangible root cause (nothing is currently chasing me in an attempt to make me its dinner).
And yes, I realize that my fears are nothing compared to what other folks are dealing with around the world. True fear, real causes, matters of life and death. What I’m feeling isn’t rational, but it’s there nonetheless.
All the Best for 2016
Sorry, that wasn’t very cheerful there in the middle. I really am very optimistic about the future and very ready to get to everything on my lists. So much to do, see, and experience! I just need to work out this little argument I seem to be having with Fear regarding who’s in charge.
Here’s a toast to Fear in 2016: Happy New Year! Thank you for all you’ve done for me, but unless my life is being threatened, I’m choosing curiosity over you (perhaps this will allow me to be a little more adventurous too).
And for you real live humans out there, may your 2016 be full of whatever you aspire to do and/or be.