“Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture… Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.” -- Norman Vincent Peale
A year ago today, I left for the trip of a lifetime.
For some people, a trip to
For me, though… traveling to
For me, though… traveling to
I didn’t realize at the time that I’d lost the artist inside. I didn’t realize that she’d been sleeping since high school art class, where I practiced for two hours a day three times a week. I played with glass—but we didn’t have a torch other than a Bunsen Burner. Still—it was enough. I loved melting glass and twisting it. I even pulled stringers—not realizing that I’d revisit that experience years later. I have a fused glass plate and even some jewelry I made back then, too. The earrings are crappy and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost the rest of the jewelry I made—I clearly remember wire-wrapping a crystal with copper, and it’s nowhere to be found.
I didn’t have much money to spend in
So… I took pictures. Lots and lots of them, actually. It became another outlet for me—another way to awaken the snoozing artist within and allow her to stretch her legs. I took pictures of gondolas, because I couldn’t bring myself to pay the money to ride in one (although now I kind of wish I had).
I took pictures of buildings that interested me… which yielded me a lot of pictures of buildings, by the way.
I took pictures of laundry, too. With a flighty, artistic idea that I’d have a series of laundry prints available for sale.
Some people made fun of me, some kept their amusement to themselves, but for the first time in years—I had a clear artistic vision. No matter how silly it seemed, or even how mundane… the vision was mine.
(Right) I needed to make a bead that felt like night time… and this was the result.
I wasn’t entirely sure of the outcome, but I knew I had the tools to see it through. I wasn’t sure I’d even like the result, but if I didn’t—someone else might, and if they did, they could have it. And if I failed… I could throw it into the canal.
In every sense, let it go.
How is that a mirror to the rest of my life?
Today I am incredibly worried about not having work, and my husband has been unemployed for over a year. Can we pay next month’s bills? Well, right now, the answer to that question is no. We’re in a worse place, financially, than we’ve been in a long time.
I feel helpless and out of control over a lot of aspects of life right now. And yet—I have a vision. A vision of getting work, a vision of selling more jewelry, a vision of paying bills and getting back on our feet.
I have tools to get there. I have a support system, intelligence, and I’m resourceful. I’m determined to get through this period. I’m ambitious—I always want something better for myself and my husband. I know that we’ll get through this.
And, at the end of the day, I can still make a mile-long list of things I’m grateful for. I’ve enjoyed so many things that I never thought I’d experience… like a life changing trip to
When I got back from Italy, I went through an intense growth period as I examined some things in my life that just weren’t working—but because it had been such a slow decline, it took stepping out of it (and into pure bliss, might I add) for a couple of weeks for me to see the picture with the clarity I needed.
I nearly broke. Irreparably.
But, you know what?
I somehow managed to make it through one of the hardest trials of my life (and please forgive my vagueness here—I don’t want to discuss it publicly), and I emerged so much stronger and more whole than I imagined.
"Life breaks us all, but afterwards, many of us are strongest at the broken places." -- Ernest Hemingway
I’ve faced many trials in my life—as so many of us have. I think the experiences we have and how we deal with them define who we are. And who I want to be defined as, is an artist, a good wife, a good friend, a hard worker, and a soft yet strong heart.
One year ago, my artistic vision opened itself up inside of me and crawled out of its box, woke me up, and shook my soul.
I realized—on the most basic level—that fearing the outcome causes paralysis.
Construct a vision, grab your tools, and go to work.