Updated: Dec 19, 2019
It was the inevitable lot of many aspiring artists: to study art, get a job (not making art),
to live the modern dream while the creative act and practice of art slips further and further
from my daily life. The passionate pursuit of art-making became a mere cursory glance. Sure, I still made occasional pieces of art- a gift for a friend or exhibit in a local show here or there. But gone was the intense cultivation of techniques and inspiration. But gone was the community of artists, cheering me on, providing valuable feedback. Although I had a job teaching art, I was not regularly creating my own work. Life became even more busy, when my husband and I started a family.
Also, I began to struggle with crushing fatigue, muscle pains and anxiety, which after
many years, was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease. My days were a blur of teaching, homemaking, diapers and laundry. At that time, there wasn’t margin for making art, let alone showering. I would see other people creating beautiful works of art, and my heart would sink, thinking, “I used to do that.” One day I lamented to my husband about my dreams to create again. He sagely remarked, “The dishes and laundry will always be here. If you don’t make time for art, you will never paint again.” This statement pierced my soul with razor-sharp clarity. I had been clinging to the old version of my artist self, sequestered in my studio for hours on end, with nothing to do but make art and think about art. I needed to forge a new vision of who I was as an artist.
Becoming intentional about creating art involved more than blocking off time to paint
and draw, it also meant being fully present, in order to keep my soul in a place where I am
receptive to inspiration. I also needed to care for my body, making sleep, nutrition and exercise a priority. As with many mothers, we get so used to caring for others, that we forget to care for ourselves. When we do so, we lose our ability to give fully to others. Instead, we pass out crumbs of ourselves. Now that I am in a regular rhythm of painting, writing, and sketching, I find I have more energy and more joy to give to my family. Also, getting back into the studio has meant that I have had to be very intentional about how I schedule my days. I can’t waste any moments that are not essential to filling my soul.
I know this story is not unique to me. Maybe you can identify with feeling disconnected
from your creative passion. Maybe it has been many years since you’ve picked up a paintbrush, dusted off your violin, or donned your running shoes- whatever your passion, know that it is still there. It is part of what makes you, you!
So, what is it that fills your soul with joy? When do you feel most alive? You may be thinking, “But I don’t know what my passion is. I’ve never thought about that before.” Perhaps it is because you were raised in such a way that your life was planned for you. Every activity chosen to fulfill someone else’s dreams and hopes. Or maybe you were never given the opportunity to have the garden of your heart watered and enriched with possibilities.
Just know that its never too late to discover what you love. Every one of us was created with
unique gifts and abilities. Listen to the longings of your soul. Seek out like-minded indviduals and those who will encourage your explorations. Take a class, sign up for a race. Do what returns energy to you.
I’d love to hear your story! Please share your thoughts and discoveries below in the comment section.