Last year at this time, I was nervously preparing to show my artwork at my very first art festival.
The event was to take place in The South Wedge, a funky/artsy neighborhood here in Rochester, New York.
I had no idea what my booth would look like or how my display was going to work.
I had no idea what I was doing.
Fast forward twelve months.
Today, I’m calmly preparing for the same show in the South Wedge this Saturday.
So it’s a mile marker, an anniversary of sorts, and – as such – it’s an opportunity to reflect.
When I started painting in 2014, the paintings were for myself.
When I was sick and mostly homebound, it NEVER occurred to me that the affirmations I used to get through benzodiazepine withdrawal would one day become a business, a way for me to connect with and help people who are going through their own invisible struggles.
Now that I have a little space from all of that, I see I was experiencing what Carl Jung refers to as the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ – a period of spiritual desolation suffered during which time all sense of consolation is removed.
It has taken me over five years to get to where I am now.
Those of you who’ve been with me for a long time can probably see the changes better than even I can. I never knew I possessed the kind of strength necessary to get thru the kinds of crises I faced, and I can honestly say I am a stronger, a more empathetic person on the other side of this mess.
I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone who has believed in me, supported me personally, financially, intellectually, and spiritually.
I want you know that in a real way, YOU helped save my life. When you bought my work, or shared it, you showed me you believed in me. You saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.
To me, this is nothing short of a miracle.
And now it’s the holiday season.
The Season of Miracles.
Everyone is rushing around, furiously shopping for gifts to show their friends and family members how much they are loved.
And that’s awesome because presents are fun and fabulous and obviously I’m selling my work, which is weird and wonderful and I love everything about the festivity of the season.
It’s important to remember it’s not about the stuff.
The greatest gift you can ever give to someone is your time & attention.
Check in with the people around you. Really check in.
Not via text message, but with a phone call. A meal. A walk.
Sit down with your most cherished people and tell them you love them, you need them, and you support them.
Many of us feel we have to hide the fragile parts of ourselves, the places where we are insecure.
Get curious about what people are really feeling, what they’re really going thru but not sharing.
And we’re not doing enough of it these days.
Just because someone looks at you and says ‘I’m fine,’ it doesn’t mean they’re fine.