The adventure of becoming a West Coast Abstract Artist, has led me closer to finding my Ikigai, and I have definitely found what I DON'T want to do.
I have just returned from 9 days on the beach. My body is strong and relaxed and my soul is full…and I’m terrified. Yesterday I was confident and feeling that I was in the right place at the right time doing the right things. Now that I’m back at work, I’m scared that I will deplete all of the amazing energy that surfing for 9 days in a row, going for long hikes in the red woods and spending time with my loved ones has given me.
Well, not this time, negative voice! I have seen a few things pretty clearly over the past couple of weeks and I’m definitely aware of what I DO NOT want to see happen. My predictability is finally in the forefront of my brain which means I'm getting to know myself better. I do not plan on being surprised by my negative thinking habits and the confusion that it can cause so here, in no particular order, are some changes that are going to be implemented immediately:
I am NOT, in any way shape or form, allowing my passions to turn into something I dread by marketing them to death.
I have made huge headway in the realm of marketing. Ok….maybe not in the way that I thought I would but headway regardless. I have been taking course upon course and absorbing every bit of marketing info that I could get my hands on. It’s been great, but guess what: I’m done with that for now. I can’t take any more info about ideal clients, email campaigns, revenue streams and goals…I’m just overwhelmed by it all and frankly, I fear that worrying about all of this stuff has taken me away from the part of this journey that I’m actually passionate about, painting and writing. I dread sitting at my desk because of the lists of marketing tasks on my plate. It’s time to simplify. Because if I don’t, I’m going to hate this journey super fast and I really don’t want that to happen.
People resonate with my writing more than my painting.
Not something I would have ever foreseen…but it’s ok. I like to write. I didn’t know that I liked it. All I do is write about what I know which happens to be struggles with anxiety, depression, the feeling that I will never truly be happy and how my art and being in nature helps me out. Through writing about it, I understand it SO MUCH BETTER. Through understanding, I have been able to make some serious habit changes that help me from being perpetually pulled towards negative thinking and I have helped myself enormously.
And guess what I found out in the process? A lot of people have the same problem. So many in fact, that when I write about it, people contact me from all over the world. No lie. I hope that eventually my writing will lead people to my painting but I’m also open to writing being a larger part of this adventure if that’s what is meant to be.
I don’t want to manufacture new goods into an already “over saturated with stuff” world. I want to create original works of art.
One thing I have learned in the first quarter of this year is that I don’t like the way manufacturing new products makes me feel. I did my first pop up shop in March. Many of you bought tote or beach bags, throw pillows and canvas prints and I thank you all dearly, from the bottom of my heart for purchasing. I wish I could say I was going to proceed with the other 3 pop up shops I had slated for 2018…but I’m not gonna. It felt really weird to try and create some awareness around the state of our oceans and coastal health, and simultaneously be creating new goods.
Sure, they were made in America, but there was a lot of polyester involved, and I’m sure toxic dyes, etc. If I ever create art products again, they will have to be 100% eco-friendly. Plus, that pop up shop took way too much time and energy away from my art and I began feeling disconnected from my own adventure. It’s not for me.
However, I love Patreon and will continue to grow my inner art community there.
I launched Patreon only a few weeks before the pop up shop and then the shop kind of took over everything and so I didn’t really promote it all that well. I still managed to gain 12 Patrons on Patreon and I have really enjoyed updating them weekly, and doing my monthly recap video. It feels like an online diary and much more intimate than the Book of Face or Instragram. The 12 people I’m talking to care enough to give me money every month in order to be part of my inner art journey. That’s powerful!
The road in front of me will show me which way I should go…and this road is pointing me to art, surf and adventure.
When I’m driving on the highway, I have 2 choices, keep going straight, or take an exit. I cannot get off the highway where there is not a road in front of me. (I mean, I guess I could but it would be super bumpy and there is a likelihood that there would be expensive repairs involved.) Why make things hard when there is an exit just up ahead? I have recently received funding from a Patron that I have decided will be put towards my dream of the MKPG Art Trailer. I really did think it was just a dream until this funding came along.
I have just over 2 years until my daughter will go off to college. During that time, I am going to build a mobile art studio/gallery to tow behind our surf van. We will go where the surf takes us and I will be able to continue painting and writing essays and will get a vending license to sell art on the road. You know when you pull up to a beach, and you see that guy or girl with jewelry out on a blanket and everything they own in a back pack next to them and you think, “how on earth do they make that work”? I want to be that wackadoodle person (albeit with an vanpartment and mobile art studio in lieu of beach blanket).
All I ask for is pure joy. I think that's what the Universe wants for us all anyway.
Creative living as an artist and writer makes me unbelievably happy...and simultaneously terrified.
Truth is I’ve always been that wackadoodle person who desperately wanted to be “normal”. Instead of embracing the creative parts of myself, I always ran from it as if it were some sort of super strain disease. I’ve realized that creative living is actually the only type of living that makes me happy, but it also happens to be terrifying. Instead of embracing my true nature, I’ve allowed that fear to steer me off my path thinking it would be the easier way. Guess what? Not easy, and there have had to be many repairs made in the forms of sobriety, therapy and a deep look inward. I have realized that by not just simply being who I was born to be, I actually complicated my life into a pretty big cluster.
We may think that the choices we make are safe but unless they are congruent with our true essence, those “safe” decisions can sink the ship. In Japanese, the word Ikigai means “a reason for being”. Finding one's Ikigai can sometimes take a lengthy search of self but once found and followed, life becomes satisfying and has meaning. We must always be in alignment with our callings or be actively looking for them. After a long search, I have found that mine is art, surfing and adventuring and so, going forward, that is what I shall think about when making every decision.
Have you found your Ikigai? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear about what gets you out of bed in the morning. XO