To see far is one thing,
going there is another.
To see far is one thing,
going there is another.
WHEN YOU OPEN UP TO LIFE AS IT IS
When you open yourself to the continually changing,
impermanent, dying nature of your own being and of reality,
you increase your capacity to love and care about other people
and your capacity to not be afraid.
You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.
And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression.
You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds,
from now until the day you die.
And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities
to start doing things differently.
excerpt from “The Pocket Pema Chodron”
It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
So you’ve probably heard about this little “event” that is supposed to take place today; the end times, the beginning of the end, or the rapture. In fact, as I write this, calamity should be coursing its way around the globe, beginning in New Zealand at 6:00pm local time. I didn’t realize that God conducted His business by time zones.
At first I was both amused and annoyed at all the attention this has received. Amused at people’s humorous take on these predictions, such as the CDC’s Zombie Apocalypse blog post (which does include beneficial information on preparing for a natural disaster), the Post Rapture Looting page on Facebook (absurd but not something I condone; looting is looting and not funny), choosing your song for the end of the world, and the Rapture Prank, which advises leaving clothes strewn about on the sidewalk as if someone just went “poof.”
My annoyance came at all the attention this particular group has received. I was concerned that the media and social networking promotion of this alleged event only reinforced this group’s beliefs. Then I thought of other extreme groups like Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre and how I would hate to see anyone who supports this prediction of the end times kill themselves. (The Jonestown Massacre was not related to an end times prophecy. However, I do believe one must be concerned about how someone potentially reacts when they realize the prophecy did not manifest itself.)
Maybe, then, all the attention is a good thing in an odd sort of way.
I’m not passing judgement on anyone for their beliefs. That’s supposed to be reserved for the Big Guy/Gal or whatever you choose to believe in (or not.) However, I’ve read that those who believe in this prediction plan to sit in front of their televisions watching the destruction. Another believer asked “Would you continue business as usual?”
Well, I have no desire to watch the destruction of others. My take away from all of this is to live life to the fullest. Express your love and gratitude for all that is around you. To me, that is continuing “business as usual.” I don’t think any ethereal entity wants us sitting around thinking about the end. We’re human BEings. We live, we love, we struggle. When the end comes, it comes.
And if this is the beginning of the end and the end is due to arrive in October, I ask that it wait until after my birthday :-0
Life has an uncanny way of tossing challenges at us. Sometimes they show up once in a while. At other times they come at us one right after the other. The challenges I’ve faced in recent months felt like they came one after the other: health problems; a sick kitty, home damage during a long, hard winter, relocating my studio several times, surgery, preparing for repairs and painting, and then delayed repairs due to contractor schedules.
As they say “When it rains, it pours.”
Once the haze of frustration lifts and the pissing and moaning ends, I try to reflect on each challenge and understand why the particular situation happened. To be honest, I don’t always find an answer. I don’t know if there is supposed to be one. Sometimes I don’t realize why things happened until well after the challenge has passed.
More often than not, the challenge arises from something beyond my control. And that lack of control over the situation makes it even harder.
One of the hardest things to do as a human is to give up control and to put the situation in another person’s hands, whether that be another human, or Spirit, or Universe, or Source.
For me, one of the other difficulties that I face in these situations is acceptance of the unknown. That is, not knowing why the challenge has appeared and being comfortable with that. I’m sure this is related to the control issue and our natural tendency to seek answers to situations that challenge us.
But do we always have to understand the “why?”
Dealing with challenges is a little easier as I get older. The phrase “There are things we can control and things we can’t” has become a familiar mantra.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I’m not sure it would be very good if I did. What would be the point of living if we knew all the answers anyways?
Some interesting & amusing thoughts from the blogosphere this week.
How did you feel about the death of Osama bin Laden? Celebratory? Sad and reflective? I found myself with mixed emotions. This post by Susan Piver put into words that which I could not.
The 10 Failures of Donald Trump Remember Trump Vodka? Me either.
You cannot help those who are not ready to receive it: Alyson Stanfield shared an excellent post from her archives reminding us to resist the urge to be fixers. Her focus is on artists but you can easily change the word “artist” to anyone.
Fake quotes? Ever wonder if those quotes you read online were really said by the person that they are attributed to? Here is an interesting case of a comment that morphed into a quote with the whole thing being attributed to MLK.
Ladies, are you wearing pants?
Just because I’m an artist, that doesn’t mean I can’t be color challenged. That is definitely how I’ve felt in choosing a new wall color for my studio. I never thought it would be so difficult to choose a paint color. I’m an artist, right? I work with color all the time. I choose colors for my artwork, often working intuitively, mixing and blending until the colors evoke the feeling of the piece. This should be a piece of cake.
My studio is on the third floor. It has nice natural light but can feel a little cold in the winter. The current wall color is builder basic: antique white; a very light yellow. Flat. Dull. Boring.
I had an idea of what color I wanted for my studio walls. I love the Tuscan yellows and golds and thought they would warm up the walls. So I brought home a bunch of sample chips in that color family.
Then the clerk at the local Ace Hardware tells me they loan out the color books at the store. These books have 8″x8″ color samples. It will make choosing a color easier because of the larger sample. Hang it on the wall. See it at different times of day and in different light.
Next thing I know I’ve pulled 17 samples from the book that contained most of my color preferences. 17 colors stuck to my studio walls. This is not going to be easy.
After a process of elimination and asking artist friends for their input, I narrowed down my color choices to three. Then off I went to the paint store to purchase small cans of paint in my chosen colors, some small rollers, and a paint tray.
First, I thought I’d go bold. I tried out the sample called August Morning, a dark orangey-gold looking color.
And this is how the paint sample looked on the wall:
Yep, it’s dark orange. It’s pretty bold and intense. My first warning came when I opened the paint can and saw orange sherbet.
Next up was Golden Mist. Golden Mist was a wild-card choice. I saw it at the last minute in one of my many swatches. Still being in a bold mood, I gave it a go.
The sample fit my original thought of something Tuscan-like. And then I put it on the wall.
This color was deceiving out of the can. It looked much lighter as I stirred it. But when paint met the wall, it became this deep gold color with a touch of magenta in the base mix. Initially I thought it was a color I could live with. Yet as the weekend grew longer and I tried to picture this color on all the studio walls, I started to feel claustrophobic and shut in.
On Sunday I put Crisp Straw, choice #3, on the wall. I was a little leary because the base mix included orange, yellow, and gray!
When I look at this sample, it looks like straw; a light colored beige with a hint of yellow. And then I put it on the wall.
Crisp Straw is a soft peach! I couldn’t believe it. Since when does the color “straw” look like the color “peach?” In this picture, it looks a little fleshy.
But the third time was the charm. Crisp Straw presented as a soft, warm, feminine color. Just the right amount of warmth and color for the studio walls without being too bold or too dark. And it won’t make me feel claustrophobic.
I chuckled as my original paint idea morphed into something I really had not considered. And a wave of relief came over me as well. I had felt completely frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t find a color I liked. That little voice of failure was speaking up, mocking me as an artist who couldn’t choose a simple color.
While I had decided early on not to lose sleep over the situation, I was worried that the painters would arrive and I’d still be undecided. Or I’d have to go with a back up plan: something neutral, in beige.
So, there you have it. An artist can indeed be color challenged. Perhaps our love of color can also be a hindrance. Fortunately, I found a color I liked and that I can live with for the next few years.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
I’m a little late in sharing the good news, but better late than never. Besides, its a good reason to celebrate again.
Last year, I participated in Jennifer Lee’s wonderful online class The Right Brain Business Plan E-Course. This was the first business plan course that I took that actually clicked. Why? Because it paired my creative side with my planning & organizational skills. It made crafting a business plan fun.
If you’re a creative entrepreneur like me, I bet you go running for the hills when you hear the words business plan. Yet, you know that having a plan is essential to your success.
This year Jenn has put all this wonderful information into a book aptly titled The Right Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success The book was released in February through New World Library
I’m thrilled to share that I’m one of the 22 featured entrepreneurs in the book and my Right-Brain Business Plan made it in!
Through Jenn’s online class, and now her book, I was able to develop a vision for my business based on values that are important to me. Those values became the basis for my business plan. With Jenn’s guidance, I was able to identify and understand my perfect customers, make the leap into teaching, write financial goals in terms that made sense to me, and develop a sense of who my creative cohorts are.
You can read more about my business plan in this post on Jenn’s site: Spotlight on Amy A. Crawley
The other wonderful aspect of Jenn’s approach to writing a business plan is that I can pick up where I left off. When health issues became my primary focus late last year, I had to put my plan aside. Now that I’m feeling better, it’s time to revisit my plan, update it, and rework some goals. Having flexibility in your business plan is essential. It shouldn’t be a linear, static document.
So, what are you waiting for? The Right-Brain Business Plan has already been a #1 bestseller the Amazon Small Business Plans category. I highly recommend this book!
The only journey is the one within.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke