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Let Your Passions Feed You

I’ve wanted to be a lot of things in my life. I’m interested in a lot of things. Even though I’ve always planned on being an artist and a writer, I’ve also seriously considered going into theatrical set design, archaeology, teaching, horse breeding, nutritional counseling, and  art therapy.

The other day, Sam and I were sitting at an outdoor table sharing wings and mozzarella sticks, and we started talking about talents and abilities that we each had. It actually started by comparing his super-sensitive taste buds to my ears. Sam can taste things that I can’t, and I have some crazy-sensitive ears. For me, any sort of squeaky, scraping sound practically causes seizures, but I can also hear things in music that Sam can’t. He likes to play songs I’ve never heard to see if I can guess the band (if I’ve heard of the band, I can usually tell). I can’t remember the words of most songs, but I can remember obscure little beats and entire guitar solos. I hear music in a very visual way, if that makes sense. I could probably sculpt or draw the sounds. One of my favorite things to do in junior high was to listen to a song over and over and draw it.

I’ve taken voice and piano lessons and I’ve played with composing, but I’ve never really done much with music. As we ate our lunch that day, Sam asked “Why aren’t you in the music industry?”

I just shrugged. I love music, but I don’t know what I’d do with it. I also love animals and could happily be with them every day, but I don’t know what I’d do with that either.

Sam’s kind of the same way. He’s a man of many talents and he likes to experiment, but like me, he’s has a hard time settling on one career. He’s also dabbled in set design and engineering, but he’s also a web designer and he’s going to school for 3-D animation. He’s draws and he loves film, and he  loves creating props for haunted houses. Someday he might open a creature shop and make puppetry-assisted animatronics for haunted houses and movies.

It’s hard to juggle so many interests. One things that I love about art and writing though, is that I can use them to cover all my other interests. I can write about anything, paint anything, learn about anything and let it show up in my creative. Everything I do, see, love, and dream about feeds my art and writing. Even though I’ve checked out plenty of different paths, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. Though someday I’d love to go back to music lessons, I’d love to spend more time with animals, and I still think there’s plenty to be explored in my other interests. Those interests are there for a reason. I used to get frustrated that there’s only one of me and that I couldn’t do everything I want to do, but it doesn’t bother me much anymore.

I watch Sam juggle his different interests and ambitions, and I noticed that he doesn’t stress out about it. He doesn’t seem to worry that there isn’t enough time or that he’s doing the wrong thing. He just has a good time with it.

I guess that’s the best thing to do when you feel like your choices and passions are overwhelming. Just have fun with it. Let it feed you.

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10 Things I Love about Art

I love art. That’s no secret. I’ve met people that don’t love art, and I just can’t wrap my brain around it. How can someone not love art? How can someone go through life without encountering a piece of art that moves them? I don’t know.

Mixed Media, 8X10 canvas board

Why do I love art? Here’s why:

  1. It can be deep and thought-provoking, or just pretty.
  2. There’s not right or wrong way to be an artist.
  3. It scrapes to the very bottom of my soul and gets to the little crevices. It brings things to the surface that I never knew were there.
  4. It fills us with emotion.
  5. It’s a universal language. It helps us communicate feelings that transcend words alone.
  6. Art is fun!
  7. It brings us together, and also brings us closer to ourselves.
  8. Anyone can make art. Anyone can have fun with it.
  9. Art heals.
  10. Art allows us to exercise one of our most divine traits: creativity.

What do you love about art? What do you love about your passion?

How to Deal with Creative Fear

Happy Monday lovely readers! Those of you who are students are probably done with finals by now and today marks the beginning of summer and whatever changes it brings.

I’ve experienced an unusual amount of fear this weekend. I’m a little nervous because today I end my glorious month-long break between jobs comes to an end and I get to start my day job. I’m lucky enough to work with some really nice, fun people in a place where I feel comfortable and not pressured, and I’m actually really excited. I’ve had day jobs in the past that demanded so much of me that I had nothing left to put into my true work-my writing and art. I don’t think this job is like that, and I’m grateful I found it.

The First Day Jitters are one thing, but what about the fear and anxiety that surrounds our true work? Why should we be afraid of doing what we love? I call this Creative Fear, and it’s held me back from doing what I love before. Fear is natural and healthy because it’s only our mind trying to keep us safe and comfortable, but we can’t live in a bubble. We can’t be afraid to follow our dreams because we either freeze and accomplish nothing, or we create from a place of fear rather than passion, which means we won’t enjoy creating and we won’t do our best work.

Here’s a few tips for dealing with fear surrounding our dreams:

1-Figure out what you’re really afraid of– For example, I feel a vague sense of fear when I think about the next chapter of my life trying to launch my career. I made a list of different concerns and beliefs that troubled me, and I realized I’m not necessarily afraid of rejection, I’m afraid of never achieving the freedom of owning my career, and that I’ll lose my authenticity. The idea of competing with other creators makes me sick too, because I don’t want to step on anyone else and I don’t want them stepping on me.

2-Reframe those fears-What do you know to be true? Do those fears have a root in reality? Are you just looking at them in a negative light?

I have no way of knowing for sure that I’ll succeed, but I know in my heart that I’m not meant to be a worker bee forever. I’ve wanted to be an artist and a writer since I was old enough to hold a pen, and I always knew that was my destiny. I never worried that I’d fail. That fear only came about when I learned about the writing industry and after dozens of people rolling their eyes when I told them I wanted to be a writer and then asking about my backup plan.

Will I ever lose my authenticity? I admit, I’ve created specifically to please someone else, whether it’s a teacher or a family member or a potential publisher. It happens to every creator, but the important thing is to create the bulk of my work to please me. As long as I stay connected to my creativity and my passion, my work won’t go stale. If one mode of expression dries up, I’ll find another.

And competition? We’re experiencing a paradigm shift. Competition is rooted in a mindset of lack, the belief that there’s not enough to go around and that we all have to fight for our share. The truth is, we live in a world of abundance. More and more creators are creating their own careers instead of jumping through hoops set down by “the market”. Competition becomes cooperation.

3-Remember you passion- The thing about fear is that it disconnects us from the passion that drives us to create in the first place. Sometimes, the reframing exercise takes awhile to sink in and the fear doesn’t even out right away. So, lock yourself in a room and create something to make yourself happy. Paint something that no one will ever see. Write something no one will ever read. Experience the joy of creation while nothing else can touch you, and that joy will overtake the fear in no time. 

So gook luck with your week, friends!

Have you ever experienced creative fear? How do you handle it? Have fear ever held you back?

A healthy passion

I’ll let you in on a secret of my dorkiness: When I have a question or a problem, I hop on my computer and analyze it, type whatever pops into my head and hope I get somewhere.

I’ve been known to obsess over food before, and lately I’ve been reading (and writing) a ton about food. What it does in the body, where it comes from, recipes, all kinds of things. I enjoy it. At least, I think I do. I wanted to find out if this is a healthy interest or if I’m back on the unhealthy obsession wagon. Here’s what I wrote:

What would I be doing if I weren’t studying food, recipes, nutrition, and food production? I’d probably be reading more novels, writing, maybe doing yoga or running more. Maybe I’d be playing Freecell, I don’t know. Watching more movies, practicing piano, spending more time with Sophie, learning something new, laying around doing nothing. I guess it doesn’t matter. I could be doing something practical or not.

Why do I study food? First of all, I find it fascinating. Food production in the context of history and sociology is incredible, and so is the way the human body processes nutrients. I love finding out where food really comes from, this necessity of life. No one can escape it and get out alive. So much is tied to food, not just calories and weight. Economics, relationships, tradition, human nature, history, sociology, science, the art of cooking, everything! It’s also a personal journey as I learn to nourish myself properly. I’m learning to listen to my body and to live in a way that helps the planet and other people. Food connects me to that. I feel like I’m onto something sometimes, but I’m not sure what it is. I just keep reading.

And yeah, I love the pleasure of food. The taste, smell, preparation, all the ritual. Finding the best foods is like a treasure hunt. A mystery. I love combing through grocery stores, the health food stores, farmer’s markets, and gardens for something special. Throwing things together to create something amazing, learning how foods work together. I love it all. I don’t think this is an unhealthy obsession like it used to be. I’d call it a passion, and hopefully it will lead me somewhere I’d want to be.

After writing this, I realized I’ve come a long way from hiding in my room with diet books and a  calculator. I think this is a interest I can trust.

 

Passion and Authenticity

I’m McKella:  a wife, writer, and perpetual changer of hobbies. I have dozens of interests that I cycle through regularly, but I’m most interested in creating a life that is truly mine, where I’m my authentic self and I live with passion. What does this mean to me?

Authentic: Celebrating my real personality, my real body, and my real soul free from pressures and restrictions of society, like dieting, conventional health guidelines, consumerism, school, traditional “jobs” and a linear career path. Too much of my life I’ve wasted trying to fit into a mold, but finally I’ve decided to say “Screw it” because I know never will.  It’s time to peel back the layers of social constraints and live the life I was meant to have.

Passion: I want to learn and create without inhibitions, to feel no fear of trying new things or feeling that I must be perfect or correct to be validated in my activities. I want to dive headfirst into the things that give me joy and to have the courage to seek them out.

I want you to live your authentic life too. Everyone deserves a life that’s joyful and fulfilling, so as I create my life, I’ll share with you my discoveries to help you along your own path. What will you find here?

Unschooling and organic learning

Creativity

Intuitive eating

“Real food”

Joyful movement

Happiness and emotions

Natural health

Unjobbing and fulfilling work

Frugality, minimalism, and simplicity

Body image

And other things I stumble upon.

This is the handprint I want to leave on the world, to help people learn to create their own happiness.

So, I bring you Handprint Soul.

It’s going to be an awesome ride.

McKella