I sit smiling at my first oil painting I have created in about 6 years… Almost laughing, I ask myself, why did I put my oils away in the cupboard? And, for 6 whole years?
A captivating canvas, fresh with the scent of turpentine and linseed oil, rests fully saturated on my easel, and once again I am filled with peace, strength and a bursting joy for this newly found hobby of mine… Being brave and conquering fear.
As I reflect on what to say about this word, I sit still… My mind races, scrambling to adequately define fear, but all I can imagine is petrified stillness. Fear is an emotion that I have felt too often. When it creeps into the core of who I am, I become like a deer, frozen in blazing headlights. I cannot move forward or back. I stay quietly wide-eyed until circumstances change my outlook, allowing me to move again out of complacency, nudging me forward to a change my direction in life.
Last year at this time right around Thanksgiving, I sat frozen in fear of the unknown. Family dynamics, my job at a local art studio, and life in general had left me dry, parched for something more meaningful. I knew change had to happen. But I was frozen.
I made just enough to get by, and I liked my job enough. I was not fulfilled, but my bills were being paid. Early December, It took a bit more than a nudge to push me of into the biggest leap my short life had yet braced for… I quit my job. Yes. At the peak of the economy deterioration. Yes, a year after accruing a mortgage payment on our first home. And yes, 20 days before Christmas, I stood jobless, and therefore frozen more than ever. But only for a day or two.
I knew God was teaching me how to not be timid in my fears, but how to walk boldly in faith, trusting that He would provide. In this moment, I remembered our move from CA to CO, and all the times I had cried out to God for guidance through those tumultuous two years in one of the coldest and rugged places in the United States. I recalled the new journeys that awaited us in our relocation to the Pacific Northwest. I thought of our sleepless nights, as my husband and I took odd-end jobs to make ends meet, while on food stamps, wondering if we would make enough to stay in our apartment.
Now standing in utter joblessness once again, I knew I could not be a deer standing silently still out of fear. I had taken the leap to quit my job and now I had to do what I did best! Hit the ground running! As a young elementary school girl, my “Indian Princess” name was “Little Running Deer. “ How foretelling! In high school, this MVP track runner knew what it took to run a race well.
It was now or never, to pursue my life long dream… and so it began in my spare bedroom… I created a teeny, tiny, darling art studio!
I started teaching one student and now find my calendar busier than I could have ever imagined, filled with happy days of art-making! Many now follow and admire the work that my clients of my little home studio produce! I am thrilled to be teaching people how to branch out of their fear that seizes their creative spirit and help them move on to celebrate living the creative life!
Onward, Being Brave!
Within the last year I have had to come to terms with the fears that I carry within my own soul. I call this year of 2012 my year of bravery. My soul-saying for this season in my life is simply… BE BRAVE. I whisper those words when I start to feel the panicked deer take form in me, and I am reminded to run fast in the direction that I find peace and strength.
When I was in Arkansas this summer, I found a bracelet in a cute little shop. The artist, Kelly Rae Roberts is absolutely inspiring! I wrapped this sacred bracelet around my wrist, and more days often than not, you will spot this orange leather bangle snuggly reminding me to “Be Brave. Practice Courage Every Single Day.”
Through this year of bravery, am practicing conquering fears of all sorts! Even artistic fears that I didn’t even know that were deeply rooted in me.
Performing my music. Running toward one of the things I feared the most, I performed in front of a friend, then a few friends. By mid-summer this year, I was sitting on a stool on a stage picking my guitar to the folk love song I wrote for my Grandparents. The Pine Mountain Theater in the middle of the Ozarks had a crowd of 200 that evening. I recently performed my first open mic night in Oregon, and have enrolled in guitar and voice lessons to celebrate and explore this creative side of myself!
Creative writing. I realized I was afraid to write too, due to a fourth grade memory of a classmate ripping my imaginative stories I had written and throwing them into a pile at recess. And here I am today, breaking free of that seizing fear that so often binds Me. You. All of us at one time or another.
Facing the Fears head on:
Instead of standing still in fears, I am running to meet them head on. And the funny thing? Most of the time when I collide with the things I fear the most, they fade like a puff of smoke, fall away like a whisper in the wind, or disperse like a swell in the ocean. I have nothing to fear because through my journey to conquer my fears, I find that I am braver than I thought.