Most of us probably agree that enjoying what we do is essential to achieving big things. It’s pretty hard to succeed at something that bores you or drives you mad. But in the same breath, we can also acknowledge another truth: sometimes, work is just painful. I mean, it’s work, right. By definition, it’s something we have to do.
We’ve all had that sinking feeling that we’re reinventing the wheel or spinning in circles. We’ve struggled while hunting for inspiration, trying to remember what we love or the things that spark joy. We’ve worked hard on a project, only to discover that it hasn’t set our hearts on fire—or even worse, that didn’t pay the bills. And we’ve watched as more distractions crop up, slowly taking over our calendars (and taking our sanity along with them). This all adds up to a lingering, deflating sense of frustration towards life and work.
The truth is, sometimes it’s time to let the old ways die and begin life anew. This is why I’ve recently archived all my artworks and preparing to start a new chapter in my life—and a new series of work.
I love what I created in the past, but a new me awaits. And as this card from my Art of Life Inspiration Deck confirms, “It’s time to choose the new energy of flow, optimism, hope and renewal.’ As I write, it’s winter here in New Zealand. But I can choose summery thoughts. I can choose to focus on what I do want to feel and away from what I don’t. We all can.
The text on this card was inspired by the many incantations my special commission, Always Summer, required, and the brief which was for the painting to always feel like summer even when it rained.
Moods are like clouds. Some float across the clear sky and continue along their way. Others linger and threaten to stay. With an intention to stay in the energy of love, light and peace, we can observe our moods and choose which ones in which to seek refuge.
We have that power. Even during the bleakest of days in our hearts and minds, it can always be summer.
What are some of your favourite mood-elevating moves? Journaling? Writing? Singing? Working with a therapist? Sharing your worries with a friend? A massage? Practising radical acceptance? Meditation.
There are so many ways to paint the landscapes of our minds in uplifting, mood-enhancing ways.
I did “a Trump” one night. Something was on my mind, something I was frustrated by, something I wanted to fix. Immediately. Right then. On the spot. At 2:15 am.
Unlike the then President, I didn’t summon others to witness my frustration. I didn’t spread any conspiracy theories. I didn’t blame others. I simply lifted the canvas that wasn’t working and started repainting.
Big mistake! Instead of creating a legacy piece, I ended up with a big mud puddle. The light was poor. The paint wouldn’t dry. The conditions were less than optimal. But I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t quit. And things went from bad to worse.
Is there something in your life right now that’s frustrating you? Does an impulsive drive to fix things make things worse?
Definitions of frustration include:
“The feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.”
“The prevention of the progress, success, or fulfilment of something.”
I was getting frustrated because what I was trying to do was important to me. I wanted to create something beautiful. The action I took made me question whether I wanted to continue to be an artist. I felt like throwing away my paints.
What I needed to do was change my attitude. Here are a few things I’ll do next time frustration creeps in:
• Remind myself that something beautiful can come from mistakes
• Work with energy—2:15 am is not my optimum time
• Step away. I don’t have a golf course to retreat to, but I did have a nice warm bed.
• Be playful. In the total scheme of life, even a bad day at the easel is better than the worst jobs I’ve ever had
• Be grateful for the successes I have achieved
• Remember to balance work and life. Painting is part of my career combo. Sometimes I need to paint just for me
• Share my feelings with others who can help me recalibrate
• Set some rules—like not painting after midnight!
And last but not least, remind myself that I am the Joyful Painter. Always, always, always work with joy. I’ve set up an Instagram page. If you’d love to see my work as it evolves, please follow me here>>https://www.instagram.com/cassandragaisford/
This has been an excerpt from The Art of Life: Thriving Through Chaos: Insights and Inspiration to Spark and Sustain Your Creative Life. Available in ebook, paperback and hardback from Amazon
Universal Link: getbook.at/TheArtofLifeBook
© 2023 Cassandra Gaisford
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