Thursday, January 29

How do you pull yourself out of a self defeating funk? Help please.



This blog has always been a place for me to grow. A platform to learn from you guys and try new things, express myself and shake it off. Even though this goes out to the whole internet I have been so lucky to only receive positivity from it. No haters. Just support and love. Right now I am having a growth spurt in my own life. I can clearly see around me that I am constantly fighting to be sucked into "the race." Race to have the most sales, to create work I feel good about and get it out there. Race to know the right people, to go to the best events. You know. Of course you know. And since I make my living by expressing myself, and by creating constantly I am already vulnerable to external pressure because I am always drawing from my reserves, emotions and experiences to work. I can either become petty and competitive or confrontational and let my hurt feelings make me scared or I can rise above all of it and focus on the constants that I know to be true. I believe in creating fearlessly, and from my heart and I believe in loving other people and I believe in taking deep breaths and living in the moment. I believe that if I express joy then joy will come back to me.

Help me out. What do you focus on when you feel like you are circling the drain? How do you put yourself on the right track again?

19 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle,
    I don't know if I have any words to help you through this post, but I felt compelled to take this opportunity to send a note your way. I have been reading your blog for a couple years now, and have been contemplating about commenting, and now seems just as good of a time as any.

    I love coming to your blog. Your art truly inspires me. I had aimlessly found your blog linked through someone else's, and as I spent some time going back and reading your old entries, you gave me hope and the strength that there is much more out there in life than what is currently set in front of us. I had graduated from school with my BFA in Illustration & Fine Art, but found myself landing a Graphic Design job. I don't hate it, but it surely isn't me. When I saw your art, it completely inspired me dabble in abstract painting, and have since found it to be a secret love of my life.

    I admire your courage and guts to take such huge chances in your career to do solely what you want to do. From what you've shared so far, it sure as hell doesn't sound like an easy career choice, but also from what you've shared, it sounds like no matter how bad things get for you, you always seem to come out on top, and even more so on top of that, your paintings are kickass.

    But as for what works for me when I run into a rut -- I find for myself walking outside and sleeping in the grass does the trick. Normally the open sky and lack of city noises gives me the opportunity to clear my head of all the doubt, and lets me focus on the things that are really important.

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    1. Amanda. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your comment. I appreciate you so very much for making your first comment! As soon as I read your words about going outside I was like duh! Hello Michelle! I always feel better when I loose the distractions and focus on nature. Thank you for that gentle reminder friend. Thank you also for your sweet encouraging words and I really hope that you come back and comment again.
      xo
      Michelle

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  2. I am new to art, having wanted to paint all my life, but never had the opportunity or the guts. I have had many careers, banking, medical office, sales etc. Nothing moved me. I am now an interior decorator, so I have done drawing classes, perspective, rendering etc. Part way through my training, I felt I should change courses but stuck with the design. Last year, I was just fed up with it all and wanted to paint, so I took a class, bought supplies, took a workshop and now I am overjoyed to have found my passion in life. It took me 53 years to find what I feel I was meant to do. I found your blog and you inspire me and give me hope that I one day can sell my art.

    I have just made a website, http://chaniaallen.com/pages/frontpage (still in progress) partly because I would like to sell some pieces eventually, but mainly to force me to have courage to be out there. I've read all your blog and you help give me that courage. Choose your pace and your place, and let the world work around you. You are fabulous.

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    1. Hi Raz. Good for you for persisting until you found something that resonates with you! It doesn't matter how long it takes you to find your path, so long as you find it. I like how you say to choose your pace. I really like that. Its about choosing to focus on what works for you and letting the rest recede. Nice. Thanks for your sweet comment.

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  3. Years ago I was in the same place and it was frustrating because I didn't understand why. Back then there was no internet so I turned to books for answers. I learned that beng in a funk is our soul's way of telling us that it has outgrown its current experience and needs us to do something new in order for it to contine to grow. It is a gift from the soul and sort of like a little tough love. The hard part was figuring out what it was I needed to do but once I understood why I was feeling that way I was able to relax, find some quiet time and think about what I needed to do next. This doesn't mean we need to change our lives drastically but maybe for some of us it could mean taking new classes, volunteering, etc...something that expands our soul's experience.

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    1. Anne. Thank you for imparting you wisdom with me. When you say that the funk is the soul's way of telling me that it needs to grow I had a total ahah moment. Of course! I love finding the words to describe the feeling. Thats exactly it. Changes are in sight, they must be for my own soul is telling me its time. Good for you for keeping at it until you figured out what was wrong for you. Thank you again, I wish I could hug you :)

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  4. What always works for me is to unfollow someone I feel obligated to follow. Their blog or facebook or instagram or whatever platform opens the door between them and myself. Because YES. So much YES to feeling like I need to be going to the "right" place or talking to the "right" people, networking the "right" way. Most often it isn't the right way at all. It's flimflam. It's an illusion. We reach toward people who don't really have the power we've assigned to them and the act of reaching convinces us that we've accomplished something. When all we've really done is distracted ourselves from our creative purpose. So I go on to whatever google device is handiest and I find someone that I'm reaching for in all the wrong ways and I click "unfollow." And I swear the feeling of belonging to myself again hits immediately, like a rubber band snapping back into place. I can't promise it will work for you but that one act has been a miracle for me, more than once.

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    1. Oh my goodness Jenny, you are a master of words. The feeling of belonging to myself again, that was so powerful. I feel that yes, the stress I have been feeling is the not belonging to myself, straining to feel like I am in the right place but knowing that I am not. Thank you for this golden nugget of advice, or pure wisdom. I value your insight so much! I am going to simply stop looking at anything modern or new. No social media (except for my beloved blog where I need to check in with the world), and only focus on nature, family, love and peace. xo

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  5. I totally hear where you're coming from. I've been in the same place recently. This past weekend I met up with a couple of young artists who are just starting out. Talking to them gave me a new perspective and really reminded me why I decided to follow my dreams and paint full time. They haven't really been exposed to the rat race yet and were so excited and thankful to just be creating. I think sometimes we can get caught up in comparing ourselves to our peers. Any energy spent comparing is so wasted. It'll put you in a funk (I know it puts me in one) and makes it so hard to create. There's enough for all of us to go around. All of our differences make us special- not better or worse than another, just different. We all have ups and downs. It's easy to forget when you're in your own head. Sometimes seeing things from another perspective helps you let go of the whole "doing the right thing/ being in the right place" mindset. Hopefully this angst will bring on a new group of gorgeous work;)

    I love your work and think you're such an inspiration.
    Xx, Alexis

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    1. Hi Alexis. What a great perspective, a young fresh artists who is hungry for exposure and experience. Sometimes I do think of it as a "rat race" and I feel discouraged by that. I think you are right, comparing is bad, but also kind of impossible not to do. Thank you so much for taking the time to remind me to change my perspective. You are a wise woman!

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  6. Hear ya, girl.
    I agree with Anne and Jenny. A lot. I did unfollow few people once to not compare. But the other time I simply sent them an email and a comment telling them how awesome they are and how I wish them success etc.
    Especially, if they are in your immediate circle.

    I've noticed that if I don't paint enough (just do the maintenance, marketing stuff etc) I get uneasy.
    To reset myself I usually grab a podcast (Love Savvy Painter and Studio Studio), a glass of wine and shot down my phone (no notification)
    Instagram got problematic for me...not sure what to do about it yet, but it's causing this : "will this look nice on IG?"
    Generally I think too much social media creeps into my own creativity and point of view.
    Switching to a podcast, an audiobook unrelated to the biz, daily walks always work.
    Also, sex.
    :)
    Michelle, happy 2015!
    Marta

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    1. Marta, I always love to see your work, know whats going on with you. Your perspective is so spot on. Thank you so much for reaching out to make me feel better! I love love love how you reached out to some people with love and positivity instead of sulking or feeling bitter. I try to always do that in my life, and sometimes it is easier than other times isn't it?

      I am the same about painting, I must paint or I do feel uneasy. Being alone at home, or in my studio is how I feed my soul. I have been putting my phone on airplane mode (I learned that from Jess Durrant) so that I don't get dings. Instagram is also sometimes problematic for me, so I just don't scroll my feed sometimes, but then I miss out seeing friends or other not work related updates that I want to see. What audiobooks do you like? Yes, sex is the best for clearing the mind, and reminding me that I don't just live inside of my head! You are the best Marta. thanks!

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    2. Thank you sweet lady! Means a lot :) I love seeing you on IG.
      And yes, it's not always easy to reach out to people who are "better" (we know that "better" is highly relevant..), farther etc. Heck yeah, it's not easy. Oh well.. right?

      Airplane mode! Why didn't I think of that — love Jess — so great — incorporating.

      regarding audiobooks I'm a bit woo woo. I like a good encouragement via a positive psychology. But also, Kindle now offers something called Voicesync.. (don't remember) so some books that are on Kindle will be read to you like they would via Audible (but are much cheaper), so I'm currently playing (either audiobook or kindle ) :
      1. Man's search for meaning (almost done)
      2. The remembering process (started).
      3. Also : SERIAL on iTunes :

      All of these art-unraleted. I do so much art-related stuff that I need to add something from the outside. Otherwise when faced with a question :"What other interest besides art do you have" I'm numb+frozen as a possum.. :) Jk, or not really.
      Hugs sis!

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    3. I also love audiobooks - my favorite so far (the narration is as great as the story itself!) is, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. I'm not a runner, and have no idea why I got this book, but it actually blew my mind. After listening to it many times in full, I'm still not a runner, but the story is just great.

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  7. I assess if I need to spend some time alone or with friends. Sometimes not enough of either makes me unsettled. I need the perspective of both. Then my sure-fire cure is to do something sneaky nice for someone else. The secrecy makes it feel a bit forbidden, and gives me an adrenaline rush trying to get away without being found. Thinking up something nice reinvigorates my creativity and lifts my focus off me. Then I have a little reason to smile to myself all day long.

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  8. I'm catching up on my blog reading and just saw this. I love that you call it a growing pain - which shows that you are acknowledging that you will get through it and come out better. I think that the internet can be amazing, but also super detrimental to our growth/mindset depending on how we're personally feeling. Everyone gets into those funks and you hear that voice in your head (Amy Poehler mentions it in her amazing book Yes, Please!) telling you you're not good enough or everything has been done before, or whatever. I think when we're feeling confident though or at a high point, we probably don't notice it as much? I do a few things - if I notice that I'm feeling envious or having a negative feeling to something I see, I take a moment to acknowledge the feeling and ask myself - what am I not doing in my own life that is making me compare myself? What am I jealous of and how can I take steps to get towards X? And like someone said above, sometimes you just need to Unfollow people on IG or whatever so that you're not constantly tempting yourself with the bad candy :) I also like to talk to myself and be my own best friend (be kind to yourself). Talk to yourself - out loud sometimes - and pretend to be your own friend. That shit works!!! You're a lot nicer to your friends than yourself (most people are).

    Anyway, I think you are so candid, badass and unique. Your voice, great use of curse words and humor make you stand out. What's that quote, everyone is comparing their behind the scenes story to what everyone is posting on their best day on social media? That is also why I try to post the ridiculous stuff on Facebook, like putting my baby's Desitin on my lips instead of Vaseline and leaving the house with it on. Wearing my towels around my body from the laundromat yesterday and telling my friends I was a Lion's head away from being King Jaffe Jafir of Zamunda. Xo, Mariss This too shall pass!

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  9. Could it also be growing pains of first year of motherhood by chance? I personally had a huge adjustment - which is why I ask :)

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  10. I read this quote by Martha Graham and just try to get back to work.

    "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased."

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