Anne Smith :: Blog for November 2017


November 2, 2017

Hello, Everybody-

Yes, I've been away for a long, long time. Looking back on my last post, dated September 2016, I can see that I was at a point in my life where I was overwhelmed. My job was taking up so much of my time that it took a mechanical issue with my car to justify sitting alone at a garage for 3 hours and reading a great book my dad had given me. Not cool. I allowed myself to remain in an unhealthy situation until Life demanded that I make changes. It didn't happen right away. It took me another 9 months….nine months….to resign from that job in June 2017. I know that some of you who are reading this will identify with my indecision….and some of you will shake your heads and say, "I would NEVER put myself through something that made my life miserable, even if just for a day."

Since that entry, so much has happened that I don't even know where to begin. Let's remind each other that "LIFE DOES NOT HAPPEN TO YOU, IT HAPPENS FOR YOU".

Yes, as hard as that is to process, that is the mantra that is getting me through these times. In March 2016, Life brought me a very challenging job in answer to my desire to "find employment that utilizes my talents and makes a difference in the world"-(My Jan. 2016 journal entry). My position as a Recreation Coordinator for an Assisted Living Facility taught me things I didn't know about the many aspects of elder care, introduced me to some fantastic people and called on skills that I didn't know I possessed. In my career as a professional educator and artist, it completed for me the "circle of life" experience. I can now say that I've taught infants to centenarians and have a fantastic understanding of the chronology of human growth and development. Were there times I went home in tears? Yes; but I was also moved to tears of emotion in response to my supervisor's unexpected praise during my exit interview and upon reading her written evaluation. She told me, "You transformed the spirit of this community, inside and out." She really knew how hard I had worked; yet she fully understood my needs as a 'free spirit' and an artist who could not remain in a corporate healthcare structure and be happy. I stopped by her office today just to say hello. We hugged each other hard. She is one hell of an administrator, nurse, mother, grandmother,teacher, and friend.

In finding the courage to speak up, I found freedom. It had to be in my voice, in my own time, in my way. Since June I took some time to do a little bit of traveling, got to know some of my friends better, and made some new ones. I have begun to confront my deepest fears, dreams and desires and explore what they mean and how they might be expressed in my voice, in my own time, in my way. More than ever, I desire to utilize my talents and make a difference in the world; do I have to separate this from the necessity of having a job? Or is it really possible to make a living from doing the things that I love? The answer lies in valuing one's self.

My sister passed on a bit of wisdom she had recently read, "The way you spend one day is the way you spend your life". A teen-ager might just shrug that one off; for a semi-centenarian like me, this is a wake up call. I want to spend my days in ways that express my creativity, allow me time to read, experiment with creative projects that bring me joy, and market my skills in ways that will bring in sufficient income. Artists are often their own worst managers. We have to realize at some point that we can't do it all. This doesn't mean working harder, but working more intelligently within a self imposed timeframe, sticking to deadlines, and scheduling realistic goals, both short and long-term: It means consulting with people who really do know the ins and outs of entrepreneurial endeavors, who can save you time and money; it means surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in you and give constructive advice; it means not giving in to the fear of failure or accepting conditions that will limit you. At some point, this also means deciding you've had enough lectures, personal life-coach sessions, seminars, friends' advice, etc., and knowing that it's time to act.

Lastly and maybe most importantly: Recognize that some thoughts in your head are not really yours; often they are fleeting stray statements or impressions that your brain allows into its field. I like to think of them as kinds of "advertisements" to get you to buy something. Okay, so maybe when one of those nasty thoughts starts to play for a few seconds, hit the "Skip Ad" tab, and continue on to your preferred reality! Or maybe that stray thought is like a lost dog-it needs to be loved and cleaned up! The thoughts that really come from YOU will make you feel curious and alive. Go find out. I'm excited and curious to be rehearsing with two very talented musicians right now. It's going to stretch me as a musician, and open up new performing and recording possibilities. I'm excited and curious about exploring the creative potential inspired by the 2 enormous palm husks I found after hurricane season. I had better figure that last one out sooner than later…they are sprawled inside my tiny cottage, and are as big as kayaks! Since moving to Florida in 2011, I have been fascinated with the beauty and resiliency of husks and palm fronds; even when they are starting to become so dry that they split, they can be soaked in water and reshaped. I love contemplating their sensuous shadows in the evening, by candlelight. Magical! I can see in my mind's eye the transformation of these husks, which were once designated by a neighbor for the yard waste pile. As hard as I have tried to ignore the urgent inner voice of my own heart calling, I am once again face to face with my purpose in life: To transform the old and forgotten into a new form that surprises and inspires. That's what I do. I collect the discarded, dirty, splintered, moldy, ugly, rusted, twisted, broken and unusable and I make them clean and beautiful in my eyes.

My friends, think about this. We are all doing this in one way or another, transforming the life of a child or a rescued animal, re-purposing objects in our own homes and workplaces, inventing beautiful culinary dishes or photographing a small and intricate creature or flower that turns out to be breathtakingly amazing in a Samsung android. Dare we imagine that we can transform our nation? Our world? Go find out.

There are a tremendous number of twisted, ugly, tragic and violent episodes taking place daily, on the world stage, and in our personal lives. Many of those events seem outside of our control. Many are being forgotten. I can only speak for myself…I will continue to transform what I can with kindness, creativity and beauty. It calms me and puts me in touch with The Creator.

Can I leave you with a creative and open-ended question?

"WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO STAND IN THE SHADOW OF PEACE?"

Until Next Time xx0x0x0
Annie


Contact Anne Smith at: annesmith.smith10@gmail.com