F or a long time I have wanted to break out from my secluded lifestyle created by many years of chronic ill-health. Knowing my age was also against me, the feeling of being useless to the world has become ever increasing as the years have gone by. What was my purpose in this life?
More and more, I have gravitated towards what I could do, rather than what others expect of me. To most I look as normal as the next person, but I have a disability, and there is no denying it’s hard to keep up. Should I even try? Do I find out how I can find my place in this world, or shrivel up and cease to exist? Many do because they don’t have the support.
Art has always been with me, it was my solace as a child and even though I abandoned it for most of my life whilst raising a family, working and catering for others needs, parents and partners alike. I realised when I embraced it again, not only could I get a sense of peace from it – but also a sense of me. It also helped me in myself feel better, and lessen the symptoms I felt on a daily basis.
Getting back into the artistic swing became quite a challenge. Not only mentally and emotionally, but ultimately physically. With the encouragement of artistic friends, I set to liberating myself from the self doubt of my ability, or perceived lack there of.
Dabbling for a few hours is one thing, but to have grandiose ideas, and actually sell my artwork is another, and if so I would indeed need a place that would be there at a moments notice.
Caught between the Devil and the deep blue Sea.
To break free, I needed a space dedicated to my art work. When you have a small apartment that’s not big enough to swing a cat (not that I would), you have to constantly clear an area to even start creating, it kills the desire and is exhausting in the process.
On top, that cat, Agatha, would shed her fur and with one breath of air all that creative spark would slowly ebb away, as touch ups and redo’s were always necessary.
Renting an area seemed the best solution, but the costs are high when you are starting off. With no available units in my price range, even dedicated artist units were out of my reach. The constant thinking for alternatives became one big blur. If it wasn’t financial, it was energy, or ideas that proved to be just a tad unrealistic, such as a gallery.
Then one day, I was listening to a You Tube video with Elon Musk.
Elon has fascinated me for many years, his gentle and often awkward interviews always give me a deep sense of his purpose, and his desire to help advance the world in a positive direction is truly admirable. Often meeting extreme resistance and hate, he keeps moving forwards regardless. He has the planet and species at heart and there is so much to be thankful for that, when so many do nothing but want to destroy it! Yes he’s wealthy, and some are overtly jealous of his fortune, but I’m not, he earned it, and it’s just a tool at the end of the day. How you use that is what counts – and so I looked to him for inspiration.
It was Elon describing his early days of set up, how he couldn’t afford to pay for an office and an apartment, so rented an office and slept there until such time he could have both. This set the ol’ brain cogs in motion!
Yes, many creators work from home, but when you see a creator actually make it to the top of the mountain, so to speak it truly encourages you. I didn’t have a spare room or any space really in my home; but if I could make one with the intention that at some point upon saving enough; hopefully, I could buy a small shed to put in my garden.
Sacrifice was the answer, although not much of one. Deciding that the TV/entertainment side of the room was the best place, after all the TV had sat there for many years as an ornamental feature anyway, so I moved it to another area of the room. It was a start. I gained a small area with a shelf where I could work in my living room, and set to creating. It wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t have to clear everything away just to live normally.
I found a medium I really liked working with, many mistakes and learning curves later, I decided that it wasn’t working as well as I had hoped. Many times I wanted to give up and just figure out what else I could do.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself the next Van Gogh, I just love creating! If someone likes a piece then that’s awesome! After selling a piece at a considerable price, it encouraged me to keep going forward, and in moments of doubt and low periods, recite, “What would Elon do?”
After a year or so, with regularly saving, I finally had enough to get that shed. My intention was to buy a new one, but it didn’t quite work out that way in the end, I ended up buying and reluctantly restoring a pre-loved one.
To spare you double entry reader, you can read about that here.
Such lengths reveal other possibilities
Hopefully, it will become apparent as I share a nugget of insight from the journey I traversed.
If I had purchased the new shed, it would have been up and I would have been in months before. However, I wouldn’t have traversed a very uncomfortable route in which rebuilding a structure from something that had been maintained, but not really given much TLC. Nor got the satisfaction from turning that old shed into something useful that could continue to serve a purpose. This made me realise that I was reflecting my own life structure too.
This was an opportunity, to examine my life, to understand my weaknesses and my strengths; learn new abilities and rediscovery some long time unused ones; overcoming the self doubt in my judgement. Were my decisions realistic or unrealistic, and how far would I could go for something I love. It helps to have someone to kick your butt once in a while and my friends certainly did that, every time I wanted to give up, reminding me how much effort I had put in, and the cost!
It was quite a challenge, but I out did my own expectations all because I was willing to take that uncomfortable step towards self-discovery and change. I have my lovely new studio now. It is great! I love it! Its so me!
In the process, I realised something else, creating art or should I say paintings is not my purpose it is a facilitator to my purpose within another artistic area, writing. I have not written for so long! When I first set up Spirit Mind Body all those years ago, I used to love writing my monthly newsletters and occasional blogs. The intention of publishing my own novel eventually. Alas, I let that all go as life became more difficult and I couldn’t for the life of me see how to even structure it.
“All that is” will keep sending you reinforcements for your new structure. After a brief encounter with a lovely sorely missed kindred spirit. It was clear that sometimes our structures are more vulnerable than we realise, or care to admit, and all it takes is a wind in the wrong direction to highlight areas of weakness. So it’s best not to take for granted our structures, and continually assess for faults; repairing or completely removing any underlying rot that may have set in – no good comes from a weak base. Yes, It means change, it means facing your own truths, fears and losses but ultimately, you can stand stronger against the weathering elements of life.
In this past month since, I have had a top Web Designer/published author who I admire greatly, actually contact me, I had bought his book few years ago, he was going through details of people and visited my site, he said he loved my Quirky site and if he could help with any work as he gets excess clients! Whoop! But it didn’t stop there, another author who I saw at a lecture recently and who I also admire greatly Dr Rupert Sheldrake (coincidentally or not, born on the same date/month as Elon, and one of my friends!) sent me (agent did) a gift – a copy of his book Science and Spiritual practices! I didn’t ask for it but obviously the Universe decided it was necessary!
So my dear readers, If there are days that you feel like you just can’t move forward, never give up hope, ask and you shall receive, look for the signs, no matter how hard life appears to be or the challenges that you face, even with a disability. Find someone who inspires you, find a virtual mentor. Elon Musk is that person for me at the moment, but it may change.
Lastly, a word of advice, “look to” your mentor for guidance, never “look up” to them, for if you place them on a pedestal, you can become very disappointed and disillusioned if they don’t live up to your expectations of them. Remember they are human too and always give them thanks, be grateful for the lessons you can learn from them, the guidance obtained from their own failings and even though you may never meet them, or tell them in person. You can put that positive energy out there!
Thanks Elon! You truly are a quirky genius! You really have no idea how much sharing your endeavours, solutions to problems that arise, and on occasion revealing your vulnerable side which is truly your strength. May you continue to inspire others, as you certainly have done me.
As always, like my paintings – A Work in Progress
….If you found this encouraging then please feel free to leave a comment. 🙂