Friday, July 10, 2015

Here's to Those Who Fire Our Dreams and Support Us Along the Way part 2

I wasn't crazy about Paulo Coelho's book The Alchemist 
 - it was alright. (I read it while I was making the decision to leave my job to pursue art full time.) But, I absolutely adore the introduction of the book. Have you read it?

Paulo Coelho's introduction to The Alchemist
... we all need to be aware of our personal calling. It's is God's blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don't all have the courage to confront our own dream.
There are four obstacles.

First; we were told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible.

The second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.

The third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path.
     The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
     Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently        bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

The fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.
But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become the instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.

For me this played out as:

"No one can make a living do art. My husband will financially be supporting me while I play with my art. (The kids will have to go without because I am not contributing to the family income.) And even if I could, my work isn't good enough. And even if I did make it as an artist I wouldn't deserve it anyway. There are a lot of better artists out there than me."

These obstetricals were big and it took a lot 
of support to work through them.
I started talking with a friend about my desire to paint full time and we started working on these obstacles bit by bit.

I had a boss retire about 8 years ago. I wanted to give him something personal as a thank you for all he had done for me. I did a pastel of him beside his horse and dog. When I presented it to him at his retirement party he opened it and showed it to the room. I later told my friend that I felt so exposed by this that I would have been more comfortable removing my shirt than allowing people to see my painting.

Wow! Now, I show anyone who's willing to look my work. I put it on the internet and beg people, "Hey come look at this." It took time and trust. I started by showing my friend what I was working on and she showed me her work. I went from feeling exposed to announcing that I would leave my job to paint daily with in a few years.

We all have those people in our lives that have been with us for so many years that they sometimes know us better than we know ourselves. They know our dreams and remind us of them when we stray. I have been blessed with such people who encouraged me along the way. They were honest enough to tell me when something wasn't good that I believed them when they said it was.

These people are life's cheerleaders. Sure you could get where you're going without them, but it would have taken a lot longer and it wouldn't have been as much fun. These people sing you your song when you've forgotten the words. Some of these people have been given to me by birth, some by marriage and some came to me as gifts in life long friends.

It was my husband who freed me from the second obstacle when he asked me just when did I plan on becoming the artist I always had dreamed about. Now, when I fall and worry about not contributing enough financially to the family, he always reminds me that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take time.

The third obstacle is becoming one of my favorite things about the art business. One day you're great, terrific! The next day you're on the ground level. It doesn't matter how this day goes... it will be different tomorrow. But through all the ups and downs I am learning to believe in myself. It's the lows that give me the drive to work harder, do more, get better.

When I am down there is always someone there to remind me of my dreams. I am blessed not only by the people who have traveled this journey with me - and lets face it- have far too much of my work hanging on their walls all in a loving effort to support me, but by the new people I meet who inspire me and challenge me.

 So here's to you Aunt Marj. Thanks for being the first artist I knew and for bringing art, photography and geneology into my world. A few months before she died she told my she was proud of my work and showed it to all her friends. That meant a lot to me.

Thanks to all of you who support me in person and on social media. You make the obstacles feel like speed bumps. I know how important you are. I hope that you find in me a cheerleader for yourself and your dreams as well.

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