Tag Archives: inspiration

Why we feel like crap

I figured out something recently. I keep forgetting it until I remember to apply it and then it’s a revelation all over again.  The more I do this, the better I feel about myself. I think I’ve reached the point where it’s going to be second nature. Well, almost.

Being an artsy person, my emotions fluctuate quite a bit. Or maybe this is just my general temperament. I also happen to live in a female body, so let’s blame some of it on hormones. Then there’s personal image. I’m in rather good shape for someone who is shy of 50 by only nine months. I eat well and I’ve been exercising rigorously at least five days a week for thirty years. Alright, so there is some over-forty padding here and there, but I must admit that I feel quite fit.

My life is simple. I have good work that is in line with my skills and I can work from home on top of that. My expenses are minimal. I have a few good friends (I say a few because I am a hermit). You’d think I might be able to say that I feel secure in some ways, but often I can’t, except…

ps - 0613… I’ve recently identified the three instances when I feel perfectly at peace, and quite uplifted actually: After a good conversation with someone positive, when I help someone and after I’ve completed a project I had been avoiding. And THIS, I know now, is the secret to happiness, since happiness depends not on outside circumstances, but on how we feel about ourselves.

I don’t know why it took me this long to figure this out. Most of the times I “avoid” something, it is merely a matter of prioritizing. For instance, I typically put a lot more time in my work for social media clients than what I agreed to have them pay me for. Thoroughness and added value have always been very important to me, so I am happy to do this. The down side is that I frequently run out of time or energy for personal projects, or so it appears.

I’ve discovered that if I consciously make room, even for just one hour at the end of each day, the progress I make with my artwork, chores around the house or other projects, is utterly uplifting. I know it’s not rocket science and I should have figured this out long ago. But there is a difference between knowing this and actually taking the actions that reinforce it, consistently.

Projects or dreams that sit on a to-do list in the back of the mind have no power of inspiration because they are not in motion. To be in motion, they do not need to be in full gear, at full speed; they only need to be moving. When we set aside personal dreams or projects, we set ourselves aside. Incomplete business makes us feel incomplete.

When I take daily steps to honor personal activities or projects, I feel my self-esteem soar and I feel uplifted. I gain momentum. One more thing happens: I become more tolerant. I stop mentally blaming others for my own shortcomings, for the wrongs I perceive they have done or for simply not doing things the way I think they should be done. In addition to this, when I consistently make room for projects that would otherwise sit on the back burner, my entire perspective changes. Obstacles become challenges instead of barriers, I stop worrying about income or tomorrow, I stop turning to food or sugar for comfort and I stop using the words “I can’t.”

I have a theory: We often feel bad about ourselves, impatient, irritable and somehow unfit to face the day not because we over-ate and feel guilty, not because of something someone said or did, not because we don’t have enough time or money, not because we have a boring job, not because of our body or hormones or age; we feel bad because we have unfinished business with ourselves. Yup. I think that may very well be the only true reason we ever feel like crap.

Time to sit down with the current art project.

Simple Pleasures – Jelly Bellies & the Examined Life

As I mentioned previously, one of my guilty pleasures is to watch episodes of The Golden Girls while I work on art projects. I do not actually watch so much as I listen, with a glance at the screen now and then, because some moments on that extremely well written show are just worth the pause, every time.

What I want to do now, however, is share another guilty pleasure. I also watch documentaries while sewing. I find these on hulu. Some date back to the 60’s; others are as recent as 2012. What I enjoy about documentaries is that I can ignore the screen and keep focused on my work, while at the same time engaging my mind with something new, a fresh perspective or the life experiences of great entrepreneurs and dreamers.

ps - 0529 - 1

Last night, I watched a 2009 documentary titled Examined Life.

“…entertaining and thought-provoking excursions with some of today’s most famous and influential thinkers. Included are Peter Singer on the ethics of consumption; Slavoj Zizek on the environment; Michael Hardt on the nature of revolution; Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor question culture’s fixation on individualism. And Cornel West… compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be.”Hulu summary

The camera follows each philosopher through New York City, Central Park or San Fransisco, on foot, by cab and even while rowing a boat, as each eloquently shares their concept of what it means to live a mindful life. For the viewer, it feels as though you are accompanying them on a walk much like two long-time friends would spend an afternoon chatting about life. It was a pure delight.

ps - 0529 - 2A few days back, I came a cross the story of the inventor of the Jelly Bellies. The documentary is titled Candyman: The David Klein Story. Surprisingly, not much of a description can be found about this movie on hulu or on other sites besides these words: “The amazing true story of David Klein who came up with the concept of Jelly Belly jellybeans.” – Hulu summary

Nevertheless, the title was compelling (especially for someone with a sweet tooth), but I am glad I watched this for another reason. The inventor in question is clearly an original character, one who quite simply allowed the unfolding of his vision no matter what. As an artist (though I find this small word to be a bit too big at times), I occasionally experience insecurity about how my work might be perceived, or even my lifestyle or the way I dress (I am not exactly a fashion bug). Seeing the journey of other creative souls reminds me that we each have our own signature and that’s OK.