Realization strikes…

I realized something the other day and today I decided it was time to write about it. I’m an artist, writer, mother, housekeeper, cashier, and so many other things I couldn’t begin to list them all. Anyone following my blog will know I recently started a new job. This was after a hiatus of no work for about a year and a half after being laid off of my previous job which I had for over 33 years. Being laid off was hard. It was very hard. The shock took a long time to wear off. Getting assistance from a financial advisor helped tremendously in helping me to understand where I was and what I could do. Even so, it was still very difficult to come to terms with the changes this had invoked in my life.

The first change of having so much free time to devote to getting back into touch with my inner artist has been priceless. It has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I didn’t have to convince myself of this. Doing my art was my inner sanctuary. It kept me sane.

Searching for a new job was stressful and beyond my comfort zone. After 33 years of not having to do interviews, write cover letters, and resumes, I was completely out of my element. On top of that I strongly disliked the idea of losing any of the free time I had to delve into my art which also helped me to delve into all those various inner chambers I liked to keep hidden away. And not to mention the time it will take from my time together with my daughter. I worked out of my home so I had unlimited time with her.

I have had people tell me if I change the way I look at things then this change in my life can be exciting and rewarding. I agreed with them. However, this was easier said than done. I tried to tell myself this change would be far better than what I had previously. I tried to tell myself, I can do anything that is placed in front of me. I tried to tell myself many things that were positive and uplifting, but all to no avail.

I often wondered why this was an issue for me. Why couldn’t I just switch my mind from thinking horrible debilitating things to uplifting and a positive outlook? I persevered. Even though I had an emotional breakdown at the first job I tried. I took three months off as my doctor suggested to just recover from all the life changing events which had occurred since 2014 with the diagnosis of breast cancer and recovery, to being laid off in 2016. By this time it was Mid-2016. After the three months I returned to trying to find a job and found I was not getting any responses to my applications. After many months I sought help and now a little over a year and a half later I am now back to work.

Returning to work though was stressful. It was nothing at all like the work I used to do, so I felt like a teenager trying to learn a new job and evaluating whether it would work for me or not. Every day I felt stressed before going into work and sometimes I felt that stress hit the night before when I reminded myself of the time I needed to go into work the next day. I wanted this stress to go away. I needed the stress to go away. I kept reminding myself it would get better each day as I became more comfortable with my job. Each day after work I would come home, tired, feet hurting, sometimes legs hurting if it was an 8 hour shift, and I would put my feet up, pull out my journal and doodle or draw mandalas or both. This is a work in progress of one I’m working on now:

IMG_0917 copy

I have it a bit further along than it shows right now and I’ll show it when it is finished in a later post. Right now though, when I look at this, I realize it bears a bit of resemblance to the stress I feel in its chaotic nature.

Let me get back to that idea of changing how I look at things so that I might change the way I feel. I have often wondered why I had difficulty doing this. That is until recently. I thought about my work and how I feel once I’m there doing the job. I actually enjoy doing the job. After I’m there and I start my shift, all the stress leaves me. All I think about is being as accurate as possible as I scan the products through and learning what I need to do if a customer asks a question or something doesn’t ring up appropriately. Rarely does anything else come into my thoughts. And the activity is soothing. Even though I realized this about my job, I was still having stress before going into work, until one day I thought more about it and realized that work was now a sort of sanctuary for me where my brain can take a break from all the worries and concerns that plague me.

So now, instead of one sanctuary in my art, I now have two sanctuaries, one in my art and one in my work. The very next day when I went to work, I had no more anxiety or stress as I prepared myself to go to work. I no longer feel anxiety or stress when I think about going into work after a couple days off.

Here is the thing. For me, changing my mindset takes more than logically thinking I can do something. It takes more than my mind believing I can do something. In this case it took my whole being, mind, body and soul to find a way to embrace the work I was doing. It took more than just knowing I could do something, it took the realization of what it provides me in return. There had to be a balance. Not just doing something to get paid enough to pay my bills but to do something that brought more into my life and benefited me in ways I wasn’t expecting.

This job is no longer just about earning the money we need. It is about creating it into a sanctuary which provides my core needs/desires. I first took the job in order to help fulfill one of those core desires of needing to feel safe and secure, especially financially. Now, I realize the job helps fulfill other core desires like the need for peace and harmony. When I’m at work, I’m at peace, my mind finds harmony in the repetitive tasks of scanning and talking with the customers. It fulfills other core desires like the need to continually learn about myself and my environment and it has helped with something else which has been sorely tried throughout my life.

I have often been confronted with some of the worst in people and in some cases I found myself slowly being lowered into an abyss of darkness and believing there were more bad, hateful people in this life than good, descent people. This job is helping me to see how wrong I was. Out of the possibly hundred or more people I deal with every day, there may only be one person who would fall into that first category and I have interacted with some marvelous people who have reached out to help a stranger when they needed help without asking anything in return.

I wanted to write about this because I wanted anyone struggling with attempting to change their mindset or outlook, to know, first, it isn’t easy and second it takes making a soul connection with whatever change you are trying to make in order for you to be able to embrace it. For some, that might be easy, for others, like me, not so much. Learning this however may make it easier the next time. I also wanted others to know who may be concerned about my last couple of posts to know, life is improving. I’m finding my way. My body is getting better at handling the increased activity. And mentally I’m feeling much happier about life and about my job. I will find ways to incorporate working on more involved pieces of art but right now, my doodling, my mandalas, my doodling mandala abstract drawings are enough and accomplishing what I need my creativity to do for me.

Survivors

I worked on this piece for a few days, layering and layering acrylic paint. After each layer I gave it a day or so for me to come back to it so I could look at it with fresh eyes. I’m glad I did. I had no forethought for what I wanted this piece to be. Intellectually, I understood the concept of how a sculptor would say, all they did was bring out of the marble or the wood what was already there.

In a way, this is what happened with this painting, but not until the next to last layer. It took a day or two for me to see it. Once, I did, all it took was black and white oil pastels to bring it out.

Survivors

If you like this painting, you can get prints here.