I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned some painful lessons this past year. Lessons that marked my soul so deeply that they should be tattooed into my very flesh.
These are the lessons of faith, grace, and joy.
Like many artists, I often suffer from anxiety. There never seems to be enough time, money, or support.
But when a friend pointed out that the opposite of anxiety is faith, it felt as if my whole world shifted.
I’ll say it again so you can get it too.
The opposite of anxiety is faith.
Our responses are choices. And it is our choices that determine the quality of our lives.
Sometimes circumstances count, yes. But when you find yourself repeating the mantra of “not enough,” choose faith instead.
When you find yourself saying “no” to your heart’s desire, choose faith.
Your heart’s desire was given to you for a reason, you know. Believe in it.
Have faith in the creative spark, that part of you that calls itself ARTIST. After all, that’s really the best and most authentic part of you. Isn’t it?
Let’s resolve that for next year, you and I both will break the pattern of “not enough.” Instead we will choose faith in whatever our heart whispers.
I don’t want to get too personal but in so many ways 2016 kicked my butt.
I learned that when I lose battles, I can choose to release the sting of defeats. I can shift my focus on what has meaning for me, on what those setbacks taught me, what I’ve learned.
When I release expectations and obligations and even guilt, there’s a wonderful feeling of freedom as I return to my Self.
This past year taught me that when I walk in faith, when I connect with and believe in the truest part of myself, I am a lot more graceful.
I love how the word grace is also related to that most powerful of words –gratitude.
Grace happens when we can look back at our hardships as gifts and feel grateful for them.
But grace also speaks of creativity and the gifts that artists are given, that we are graced with.
When we work “in the flow” we most certainly feel grace. For artists. there’s no higher aspiration. Is there?
I fell down a lot this past year. Part of being an artist is taking risks and falling down. Failure and rejection are occupational hazards for creatives.
But real artists always, always get back up again.
We dust ourselves off, pick up our sword (or our brush or our pen) and courageously connect once more to what has meaning.
And then it happens. Through a strange coincidence you meet someone – the client you’ve been dreaming of, the support you’ve been asking for, an opportunity you never imagined…
Is it a coincidence? I don’t believe so. It’s grace.
Joy is the sum of walking in faith – knowing who you are – and grace – being who you are.
And when you add gratitude to the equation, you can’t help but feel joy.
Joy comes from being more of yourself. Being able to experience your own true nature more deeply. Making authentic connections on every level.
That’s why making art brings us such joy.
Because when we engage with making meaningful work, we’re connecting with the truest and deepest part of our spirit.
Can you think of anything more joyful than that?
For 2017, I urge you to throw off the shackles of anxiety and choose faith.
And as you walk in faith toward deeper authenticity, you will walk with grace.
This will bring you joy.
So for the next year –
for the next day –
for the next hour –
I wish you joy, joy, and more JOY!