The Everyday Life of a Working Artist: Day 1

Life as Art. (2017) I’ve enjoyed painting birds so much lately that I decided June is bird month. This means all of my June paintings are birds, and I’ll be creating a free class on painting birds! Sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this post to be notified when the tutorials are released.

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I’m trying to think of the right words to remember this day by. Honestly, it feels like any other summer day. I haven’t worked summers in 6 years. So being at home, spending my time painting, isn’t so unusual this time of year. But this particular summer day is a bit different. It’s special. And I want to be able to look back one day and remember the details.

In case you haven’t heard, here’s the exciting news: I left my teaching position to follow my passions. And today, my friends, is DAY 1. DAY 1 of chasing my dreams, of working in my business full-time, of making a go of this.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m working to build an art and yoga business. A tiny, one-woman shop that empowers women to take better care of themselves through creativity.

Self-care is one of those things that gets a lot of press. People talk a lot about it. Some love it and some hate it, and few people actually do it. I want to change that. And I want to impact the way we see self-care. It’s so much more diverse than the credit it gets. Sure, sometimes it’s pedicures and bubble baths. But what if you don’t like those things? Or what if those things don’t actually nurture you? Then what?

And so I’m working to get my message to the people that need to hear it. And I’m teaching art. And I’m teaching yoga. And I’m offering different ways for you to care for your body, mind, and soul.

But I’m going to save those details for another post. Because this one is simply to say: I’ve started.

It’s day 1. It’s a bit surreal.

I’m nervous. Scared. Ridiculous amounts of excited. Slightly overwhelmed. I’m feeling ALL the feels. And I’m here, and I’m doing it, and that right there is just a little crazy to me!

I hope you’ll join me and consider how it is you’re taking care of yourself. I hope you’ll join in on some of the painting tutorials and maybe try something new. I hope you’ll consider spending a bit more time honoring your body and what it’s capable of (because, believe me, it’s capable of so much more than you think).

I’ll be here on the blog twice a month. In the weeks in between, I’ll be sending newsletters to my subscribers. My email list will be the first to receive news about retreats, in-person workshops, and online classes. They’ll also get access to free art classes and yoga practices as they’re released (so please sign up below — I want you to get these too!). I hope to bring a sense of community to this little corner of the internet, a place where we can support each other in taking time for ourselves and nurturing our creativity.

As always, thank you for taking the time to be here. Namaste, friends.

xo,

Heather Rae

 

Posted in Everyday Life of a Working Artist, Inspiration Tagged , |

Weekly Musings

Some days, making the move to live a creative life is a challenge.

Other days, it feels like the most exciting thing imaginable. I get huge bursts of energy and also moments of total freak-out.

Today I feel on top of the world.

Though, if I’m being honest, the past week or so has felt very stressful. I’ve spent too much time worrying about the future and not enough time taking the steps needed to build this tiny empire.

It ebbs and flows really. 

I try to remind myself these ebbs and flows are natural.

Everything in life has ups and downs. This part of my life is new, and that’s the only reason it feels a bit awkward when I’m on the roller coaster.

Like with my yoga practice.

I practice five days a week, Monday through Friday. But of course there are weeks that schedule doesn’t work.

Sometimes a total lack of sleep has me pressing the snooze button one too many times. Sometimes I get sick. Sometimes I get distracted by other random crap in the morning, and then my practice doesn’t happen that day. But do I get discouraged and throw in the towel? Say eff it all, and never practice again? Of course not. I just skip that day and start again the next day, Monday through Friday, as I always do.

And so that’s how I’m trying to look at starting my art business.

Some days it will all feel perfect and easy. Those days are awesome, and with a little luck and intention, I’ll cherish them. Other days, I feel stuck in the mud and can’t get myself to do the work because it all feels hopeless. Those days straight up suck. But I’m working to just let the day pass and start again the next day. No beating myself up about it.

No added stress. Just allowing what will be…to be.

xo,

Heather Rae

p.s. The weather in Vegas has been stunning the past week! Last weekend we headed out to the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Juniper is a water dog through and through. There’s no keeping that girl out of the water! She loved every minute of soaking up the sunshine. And Charlotte ran through every bush she possibly could. The girl is a hunter, no doubt about it. Always looking for little creatures in the bushes. She never actually gets them. But for her, it’s all about the chase. 😉

Posted in Creative Business, Inspiration, Weekly Musings Tagged , , |

Weekly Musings

My mind has been in a beautiful space this week. Over the long weekend, I got outside, and I SO needed that! It’s funny how I can have a million things to do, but when I go hiking, everything stops. I stop caring there are things pressing on my mind. I stop worrying and being concerned. I simply breathe the fresh air and enjoy my surroundings. I took the girls to First Creek on Sunday, and we ran back and forth across the creek, Juniper chasing water and Charlotte chasing the smells in the bushes at the creekside. The air was still, the kind of still that makes you notice. And the creek was full with water. Because this is a desert, the water at Red Rock is very seasonal. Normally in January, I avoid Red Rock because of the cold. Even though our winters in Las Vegas are pretty mild, I still don’t enjoy them. So I skip the hiking until late February or early March when it starts to warm up just a bit. But this year I have the girls to entertain, and they get me out, even when the wind is blowing. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I’ll go out, planning to keep it short, but then I’ll get taken away by the breeze, and we’ll end up staying for a few hours. That’s what happened on Sunday. The creek was full from rain and snowmelt, fuller than I’ve ever seen it. And we took advantage of the opportunity to simply enjoy. We even headed there again on Monday!

This reminds me, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. About how I need to look at my life through the lens of what I love. There are times I forget to do that, and I find my mind souring. But when I stop to look around, and I take in all that I have created for myself, I feel so damn good. The last few weeks have felt this way. I’ve taken note of the good things, and it has made such a difference.

One thing I keep noticing is my home. I adore my house. I really do. I’ll be up in the morning, eating at the breakfast bar, then walk into the yoga room for my morning practice, and it just makes me smile. I mean, seriously, there was a time I thought I would never be able to afford a home on my own. And now I marvel at the fact I made it happen. It’s a small house, but it’s also perfect. It likely won’t be my last house, as I think I’ll be heading out of Vegas in the next few years. But while it is my house, I’m going to cherish it. I mean, I have enough space to have a separate art room and a separate yoga room. How freaking awesome is that?! And both rooms are exactly as I want. The furniture, the colors, everything. And I did that. I made it happen. It’s kind of awesome. I’m feeling really grateful.

On that note, I’ll leave you for today. My wish is that this week brings your mind to a beautiful space too.

xo,

Heather

Posted in Photo Walks, Weekly Musings Tagged , , , |

My New Etsy Shop!!

I’m doing a little happy dance over here! It’s a shaky, slightly scared happy dance, but a happy dance nonetheless. You see…I just opened my Etsy shop!

This is something that’s been on my list for a while now. I’ve hemmed and hawed. I’ve gone back and forth. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Will anyone want to buy what I’m offering? Mostly, I questioned opening the shop because I wondered if there was too much competition out there and if my shop would simply get lost among the sea of other artists selling their work online. But then I thought about it, and I realized a couple things. First, who cares? Who cares if there are lots of other artists selling their work online? Good for them. I think I have something unique to offer. I think that my art will bring joy to people. That thought makes me smile. And it makes the effort worth it. Second, I’m going to work hard to get my art in front of the right people, people that enjoy my work. I truly believe that if I keep working and I don’t give up, I will be successful. As I always say, I may not be successful in the way I originally planned, but I will be successful. And so…I got my act together, and I made that Etsy shop!

Please visit my shop and have a look: HeatherRaeMurphyArt. I’ve also added a “shop” button to the menu at the top of my website. If you’re ever interested in seeing what’s new in the shop, I invite you to stop by!

I shopped around a bit and found a professional printing service that I adore. They make high quality, beautiful prints of my original paintings. Currently, I am offering 8 x 10 prints, matted and signed by me. They come with a sweet certificate of authenticity, and they are ready to frame (that’s my favorite part – I’m kind of the worst when it comes to hanging things on the wall – the easier it is, the better). They fit in a standard 11 x 14 frame.

I may bring a larger selection of items to the shop in the future, but this is where I’ve decided to start — with a high quality product I can be proud of.

As a way of saying “thank you!” for visiting my shop, I’m offering a 20% discount code to use on prints for a limited time. Click here to sign up for my upcoming newsletter, Artful Musings, and I’ll send the discount code straight to your inbox.

Artful Musings will be sent out 1 – 2 times each month. I’m kicking it off in February! I’m excited to share behind the scenes information about how I make my art. I’ll be focusing on sending exclusive videos of my art-making process (short little videos that give you insight into my process or perhaps even inspire you to create your own art). And I’ll throw in a few little tidbits about my world. I’m creating a newsletter that I think is fun and useful, and I hope you enjoy it!

As always, thank you so much for joining this journey of mine! I feel like this is the beginning of something special, and I love that you’re here.

xo,

Heather

Posted in Creative Business, Etsy Shop, Mixed Media Art Tagged , |

Weekly Musings

(Charlotte and I hiked the Railroad Tunnels trail this week. Actually, I would hardly call it a hike; it’s more of a walk. But it got us outside in nature, enjoying views of Lake Mead. Charlotte loved all the new smells, especially the bat and rodent smells in the tunnels!)

As part of my 2016 review, I wrote several of the good things that happened through the year. And it got me thinking…I want to do more of that! I want to take more time on a regular basis to notice the awesome stuff that’s happening in my life. Because I have this freaking awesome life. And sometimes I forget. Sometimes I forget how happy I am with so much of what I’ve created in this little corner of the world.

And so, Weekly Musings is born — a space in which I talk about good things that happened, things I’m grateful for, and anything that makes me smile.

Last week I worked through a big review of 2016 and (what felt like) an even bigger planning session for 2017. I mapped out a long list of goals and got myself really organized for the coming year. I’m excited, and I’m feeling pretty fortunate. I’m currently a high school teacher, and we’ve been on winter break. Oh how I love a good break. Time to unwind, relax, and do whatever the hell I please is paramount.

Much of this break was time spent on my own. I feel rejuvenated. I needed that. I needed time to reflect and think about what I want, from all parts of my life — business, professional, personal, everything.

Then I did something I haven’t told anyone about. I applied for yoga teacher training. This one’s local. The previous training I had planned was in another country. The instructor seemed wonderful, but I found myself going back and forth about whether or not I should. With all the changes I have coming this year, I questioned if the added expense of travel would be realistic. And then it hit me…why put the extra stress on myself? This training isn’t and never has been about visiting another country. It has never been about travel or vacation. It has always been about developing a deeper yoga practice and the skills to share that practice with others (especially through art retreats and workshops). The day I made this realization, I did a quick search online for Vegas yoga teacher trainings. At the top of the list was a training I have been curious about for some time. I clicked on the link and realized the early bird application pricing was ending in just two days. And I thought to myself…maybe this is a sign. And if it’s not a sign, maybe I should take it as one anyway. So I applied. I haven’t heard back, but when I do, if they accept me, I think this will be my training. I have a feeling this training is precisely what I need at precisely the right time, and that’s a beautiful thing. I will be sure to update you in my next weekly gratitude post (or whenever it is that I hear back).

Thanks for joining my journey this week.

xo,

Heather

Posted in Weekly Musings, Yoga Tagged , , |

Making of a Painting | Let Love Heal

This next painting is one of  my favorites and also one that, as I painted it, I sort of hated. I mean, I didn’t hate it the whole time. It went through what I would consider my stereotypical phases of…wow, I made this?! I love it so much! To…OMG, I hate this – it’s so ugly! To…maybe I can save it. To…oh thank goodness I didn’t give up on it. 

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I roll. I so often start out liking a background I’m working on only to decide later I’ve overworked it and should have stopped early. But then I keep working until I like it again, and everything works out okay. In this case, it worked out great because the final outcome just makes me smile so big.

I love sharing my painting process (when I remember to take pictures), so I’m sharing the process of creating the background with you. The background was the part of this painting that was my nemesis, the part I battled and eventually won over. The final painting is at the bottom of this post.

I hope you enjoy seeing my process!

After the background, I added the girl, the words, and the final touch, the roses.

As always, please let me know if you have questions. I’m happy to share supplies and/or any techniques I used!

xo,

Heather

Posted in Mixed Media Art Tagged , , , , |

Trust 2017: My Vision, My Theme

Trust 2017

Trust | a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

In numerology, 2016 represents a year of endings. 2017 adds up to a year of new beginnings. I know nothing about numerology, but I love this idea. It’s precisely where I’m at. 2016 closed a few chapters in my life and opened new doors. And in 2017, it’s time to step through those doors. Trust what’s on the other side. Trust the magic of new beginnings.

Truth is, thinking about 2017 makes me anxious. I have a lot of plans. Plans for change. And although change is good and oh so necessary for growth, it’s scary. This year will hold a lot of transition. And it feels so perfect, exactly what my soul needs right now. But it’s also hard. And it has me afraid at times.

And so, I choose TRUST.

A constant reminder to trust in myself, trust in my journey. To trust in my ability to do hard things. Trust if I put the energy into the universe, if I work my ass off and do everything I can, if I give my all, things will work out okay. And maybe they won’t happen exactly as I hope, and maybe they won’t happen easily, and maybe they won’t happen all in one year — but they will happen.

I’m doing something I never do. I’m putting my faith in the universe. I’m closing my eyes and saying a prayer to my soul. I’m trusting that what I have to give is enough.

I am enough. And so it goes…

I will trust.

xo,

Heather

Posted in Creative Business, Year in Review Tagged , , , , , , , |

2016 Year in Review: Planning

(I chose this photo as representative of my year because, well, because I just love the damn picture. Ha! And also it reminds me of one of mine and Charlotte’s first adventures. We drove to Cathedral Gorge and stumbled upon a wildlife preserve I didn’t know existed. Charlotte had an amazing day sniffing everything in site and wandering through the cathedral’s caves. I had an amazing adventure. We took tons of photos and took our time. On the way home, we stopped in a sweet little town just to wander. And we stopped on the side of the road simply to take this picture. This year, I learned to slow down a bit. I learned to have patience with myself to get that perfect shot or breathe in that fresh air or simply just to stare. And I really appreciate that.)

OMG!! I’m finally to the planning phase! I spent a bunch of time today writing through prompts and thinking about the details I want for 2017. What am I craving? And how the heck am I going to make it all happen?

Let me tell you, I’ve got a tall order ahead of me. 2017 will be no easy feat. BUT…I can’t freaking wait. (I say that with total enthusiasm between breaths of excitement and also total exhaustion and slight overwhelm just thinking about it all.)

So today I did a lot of writing. About finances. About art. About personal wants and needs. And then I looked at five big categories to figure out what I want from each of them. Here they are:

  1. Financial: So this is probably my biggest area of focus in the coming year. I hate to focus so highly on finances, but they’re going to be important. I have big changes ahead. And, let’s be honest, paying my mortgage and such…kinda important. In 2017 I want to build a fairly substantial savings. I want to feel secure. I want to feel abundant. I want to stop stressing about money. The reality is that I live just fine on my teacher’s pay. But the reality is also that I wouldn’t survive too long if that pay went away. Teachers don’t get paid a lot. This shows in my savings. It sucks. It needs to change. I need abundance. I don’t mean I need to become an overnight millionaire or anything. I just need to be more comfortable. Less penny pinching. On a different note, I want to take a yoga teacher training, and I want to save the money for that before I book a spot. I need to upgrade my computer (because this one is sort of dying, especially in the face of editing my gargantuan photo files). I need to pay off those damn student loans. (Seriously…it’s been over 10 years, and I owe…a couple hundred dollars less than when I started paying them!!! WTF, people??!!) I want to build an art business, one that fulfills me creatively and brings me some of that financial abundance. So, yes, I plan to step it up with my finances in 2017.
  2. Personal: I need to spend time in nature every week. I do this now. It makes me feel whole. I want to explore new places outdoors and take more adventures, always. This year I would like to build a meditation practice that is more regular than it is now. I would like to add just 5 minutes to every yoga practice. Simple. Small. And oh so worth it. I would love to build more rituals into my art practice. I just think it’s fun! I plan to organize my art room (yet again; this seems to happen every six months!) and with that reorganization, create a small altar space, something a little mystical for tarot cards and sage and candles and feathers and favorite stones. I want to spend time taking care of myself. Honestly, I’m pretty good about this now. And I think it feels so good when I look out for my well-being, so I’d like to do it even more. More scented candles. More bubble baths. More walks while listening to podcasts. More playing in my art journal for no reason in particular. I want to pick up my writing practice again — just something small, maybe 20 minutes a day. I want to sign up for the Oasis to do weekly check-ins and journaling. I love this kind of stuff. It feeds my soul.
  3. Learning: Oh, I pretty much love everything about learning new things. I crave words and textbooks and fiction books and memoirs. I used to read voraciously, and now, not so much. I would like to increase my reading in 2017, perhaps a nightly ritual of reading before bed. It settles my mind and takes me to other worlds, and I sort of love that. I started studying anatomy with a focus on my yoga practice in 2016, and I would like to continue that. I want to learn more art techniques and further develop my style. I have some art classes from 2016 that aren’t quite done, and I would like to finish those. And I want to play around with my own projects and ideas, a minimum of one new art piece a week. I started a marketing program in 2016 to learn about marketing an online business, and I would like to finish that this year. So many awesome things to learn! It’s hard to decide exactly where to begin. But I figure I’ll just start and scoot along all year. The time will pass regardless, so I might as well spend it doing things that inspire me.
  4. Wellness: This year I’m letting go of the need to become some sort of uber healthy vegetarian. I’m just going to eat what I want and try to make decent choices on occasion. My real focus, and where I excel, is my yoga practice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. I miss days in favor of sleep sometimes. It’s all good. Sometimes sleep is the priority. But I would like to continue my five day a week practice, and I want to work toward longer practices. Right now, I practice about 30 minutes a day. I’m crunched for time because I practice before work. But if I adjust a few things, I can start to increase that time and maybe get it closer to an hour. We’ll see. No promises, as I do love my morning schedule. It’s like a ritual. But I also love when I’m on break from work and get in those longer practices. They feel so gooood. I also want to continue my daily walks with Charlotte. We walk for about an hour. She sniffs everything in sight, and I listen to podcasts. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work.
  5. Relationships: I tend to kind of drop the ball in this area. I’m not the best friend in the world because…I’m sort of a hermit. I love being home, making art, watching TV, reading, studying, cuddling Charlotte, being all kinds of solitary. But I would like to make some small improvements here. There are a handful of people in my life I want to celebrate this year, send birthday cards and holiday cards and hand written notes. Just little things that say, “Hey, thanks for seeing my hermit ways and still wanting to be friends!” 😉 I want to make quality time with Jake a priority – weekend adventures, nightly walks, dinners together, a vacation. I also want to maintain that quality time with myself. Like I mentioned above, the self-care rituals are a lifesaver.

And there you have it. These are the things on my mind as I move forward in creating those 2017 goals. Everything feels good. I’m happy with where this is heading. And I really think 2017 is going to be a game changer.

xo,

Heather

Posted in Creative Business, Year in Review Tagged , , |

2016 Year in Review: Process (more!)

(This photo was taken at Gorges State Park in North Carolina. It was the beginning of my painting retreat weekend when I had a little time to hike and explore. The day I took this photo was quite stunning. Warm sun, clear skies, gorgeous colors. I chose this photo next in my review because it reminds me how much I loved fall this year. I discovered a love of the seasons changing, the cooler weather, the beautiful colors. I sought out pretty much any place with evidence of fall, which, being from Vegas, can be difficult to find. I think maybe it’s representative of my journey this year. I’ve been focusing on making lots of changes, getting myself ready, preparing for a new season in life. And it makes me smile.)

So I’ve been thinking about how I want to continue this review. I feel like there are SO many questions, and they’re not necessarily hitting the specific things I want to focus on. So I’m going to switch this up and do it my way.

Here’s how I want to do my reviews in the future. I want to spend some time writing about and celebrating what went right. I want to spend some time writing about what felt crappy and celebrating my strength. I’ll then create a list of goals for the year. And, of course, I’ll choose a theme word for the year and create a vision board that reminds me of my goals and theme.

At the end of each quarter, I would like to read through my End of Year Review, and I want to make a list. The list is a Continue, Stop, Start list. I’ll list the things I would like to continue doing (these things are going right, and I want to keep it up), the things I would like to stop doing (these things are not serving me, and I want to stop them), and the things I would like to start doing (these things would make the year even better).

I feel like making the End of Year Review a little smaller makes it more manageable (and more fun), and doing quarterly reviews with Continue, Stop, Start lists will be incredibly useful in keeping on track.

Yup. That feels right.

So. Since I started this review with the list of questions, I’m not going to do separate “good” and “bad” writings. I’m going to do one free write, just in case the review questions didn’t hit everything that’s on my mind about the year. And then I’ll continue with the goal setting and so on.

I’m sharing this in case it’s helpful to you in creating your own year-end review. And also so I don’t forget this plan!

Anywho. I’m doing the free write below. Feel free to read along. 🙂

2016 Free Writing

Last year I had a goal to focus on vitality and health. I did 50% great with this. I wanted to continue my yoga practice and grow with that practice. And I’m happy to report I feel SO good about my practice this year. I’m focusing not only on strength, but also on flexibility and meditation and general wellness. I’ve stopped worrying about those little physical imperfections I perceive about myself, and I’ve simply focused on how I feel. Do I feel good? Awesome. I no longer stare at my butt in the mirror, checking for cellulite when I get out of the shower. (I’m just being honest here because, yes, I used to do this a lot. And just a note — yes, I have cellulite. I’ve had it since puberty; it’s genetic; and I’m never getting rid of it. So there.) I’ve worked to stop being concerned about how my eyes are starting to show my age. I’ve stopped worrying about these little, stupid things. Instead, it’s about being able to do the things that bring me joy. It’s about being healthy enough to climb a mountain and keep up with Charlotte. BUT…even though I’ve been 50% great, I haven’t made so much progress with regards to food. At the beginning of the year I tried going vegetarian again (something I did several years ago for quite a while and found fairly easy). Let’s just say, it didn’t work so well this time. I fell off the wagon about a month in. Maybe two. I’ve been thinking about this food stuff since I’ve noticed so many fairly young people dying lately. (Okay, so they’re celebrities, I don’t know them, and most of them had drug problems, but still.) I’m thinking about my own mortality. And How I sort of want to live forever. And thus, I need to get a bit healthier. My eating habits are about 50/50. 50% healthy and 50% less so. I need to take care of my body better by feeding it more real food. I’m not sure there will be any goals about this in 2017, just a general awareness that will hopefully lead to some better choices.

I spend too much time on social media. Facebook is a useless time suck these days in which I pretty much just read political articles and find myself getting mad. I’ve cut back tremendously on my Facebook time lately, and it feels good. I need to cut back more (and not slip back into bad habits when I have free time). I love Instagram, but I also find myself wasting time on there. I click that camera icon far too often, just to check if anything new has happened (a post, a like, a comment). It’s pretty silly. I want to spend less time on social media in 2017 and find a way to use it productively. I actually do like to keep up with friends via FB and IG; I just need to be more regimented with myself in their use.

I want to focus on kindness in the coming year. Kindness to others. Kindness to myself. Patience is another of those words that feels really right these days. I want to continue self-care rituals. And rituals in general. I would love to bring some rituals into my art making. I want to burn sage and buy tarot card decks and create a little altar in my art room.

Speaking of my art room, it is in need of some organizing. I need to get that together so there is space for an altar. I’m fairly sure I need to reorganize the art room every six months. But, man, it always needs it. There is always a better way to store art supplies!

I want to invest in myself and my art business and build something sustainable. There is so much more to say about the art business, but I will save that for another post.

Okay. So this is where I’m leaving this free write. I could go further, but I feel like I’m a little aimless at the moment. After all of today’s writing, my brain is a little fried. I think I’ll read some and then call it a night. Thanks for joining me on this crazy adventure!

xo,

Heather

Posted in Creative Business, Year in Review Tagged , , |

2016 Year in Review: Process (continued)

(This photo was taken at Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument area. I chose this picture as representative of my year because it reminds me of adventure, particularly taking adventures with my little Charlotte, visiting places around Las Vegas I’ve never been. It reminds me of how much she’s brought to my life. It reminds me of following my bliss and doing what feels right. That weekend, we drove up to Escalante and stayed during one of the Jewish holidays. I was surprised it was such a tiny town, of only 800 permanent residents. We stayed in a tiny cabin and went on some beautiful hikes. The area is pretty spectacular, and I couldn’t even get close to seeing all I wanted to see. We crossed bear tracks on the way back from this waterfall. Pretty awesome.)

Today I continue with: Process. Before planning for 2017, I’m processing what happened in 2016. I started with processing the good things, and now I’m looking at some of the not so good and places I got stuck. Here goes…

Process (part 2)

  1. What was time wasted this year? I hate to think of anything as time wasted. In general, I would say I didn’t waste any time this year. I did what was right at the time, and even though I might make different choices if in the same situation today, those were the right choices then. I suppose if anything was wasted, it was probably time spent worrying. And perhaps time spent not working toward my goals when I could have been. I always want to focus on doing the things that bring me joy. I always want to focus on positive movement in the direction I choose. If I’m not doing that, I want to notice and correct course.
  2. What was money wasted this year? I don’t have any big money regrets from the year. I did spend some money on a business training that I didn’t complete. I wouldn’t call it a waste though, as I plan to complete the training in 2017.
  3. What was the biggest challenge you faced this year? I’ve really struggled with believing in myself. I have a dream that I want to turn into reality, and believing it’s possible has been incredibly difficult. I have moments of incredible clarity, but those moments so often fade in favor of worry and stress.
  4. If anything, what would you change about how you handled that challenge? It’s an ongoing challenge, so I have many opportunities to change how I handle it. I’m still working on that dream, still working to believe in my ability to make it happen. What would I change? I would stop worrying…or at least try. I would live more in the present and think about what I can do today to work toward my big goal/dream rather than being concerned about whether or not it happens in the way I hope at some indeterminate time in the future. I would take baby steps each day. I would plan for each week and follow those plans more closely, without allowing myself to get overwhelmed by the big picture. I would meditate more often to work on staying present.
  5. Are you ending the year with any unfinished business? I don’t believe that I am.
  6. Are there any outstanding goals you would like to let go of? I’ve been thinking about this one. Last year I had a goal to complete yoga teacher training. My reasons for the goal were two-part: first, I wanted to deepen my practice, and second, I would love to teach yoga at my art retreats (a big future goal), and I think teacher training would help me do that. I didn’t complete the training last year for a number of reasons, and I find myself going back and forth about whether or not I want to pursue the goal in 2017. In some ways, I think it would be a great way to supplement my income and also bring interest to any future art retreats. In other ways, I think maybe I’m not totally sure about what I want to do with the training and it’s not a good financial choice this year. I’m honestly not sure. I’m not ready to let it go, but I’m not 100% committed either. I think perhaps I’ll hold onto the goal but not too tightly — if I do it, I do it, and if not, that’s okay too. Time will tell.
  7. What was your worst setback in 2016? I don’t feel like I had any big setbacks in 2016. I did have some struggles, but those didn’t set me back. I wanted to be further ahead in selling my art, and I dropped the ball a little on that (mostly due to overwhelm and a lack of confidence), but I haven’t given up. I’m still working on it, one little baby step at a time. And so my progress this year may have been slower than I’d hoped, but that’s okay. I’m still making progress. Also, I need to remind myself that at the beginning of the year, I somehow knew I was asking too much of myself to focus on business. That was part of the theme Create. I wanted to focus on creating art, rather than focus on the business aspect. I only added the business aspect as the year moved forward and I realized it would be difficult to accomplish some long term goals without considering business at all. So, really, I’ve been successful in what I originally set out to do, although it looks slightly different. So, no, I didn’t have any big setbacks.
  8. Which bad habits or unhealthy patterns did you engage in that you’d like to give up once and for all? Worry. Stress about the future. Doing nothing in the face of overwhelm. Negative thinking and negative self-talk. (This is my shortest answer, and let’s be honest, the most difficult thing to do! Reminder: progress, not perfection.)
  9. What or whom held you back this year? Did anything make you shrink into yourself or feel defensive about your dreams? Only my own ego. I’ve spent unnecessary time worrying and stressing about what will happen if an art career doesn’t work out. (Answer: nothing; you’ll just move on to the next thing…and yet, worrying about this topic takes up a whole. lot. of. time. Silly, Heather, silly.) I’ve also spent too much time feeling paralyzed by overwhelm, wondering how I’m going to make it all happen. (Answer: take it one day at a time, one step at a time, and stop being so consumed by the big picture!)
  10. How did you hold yourself back this year? Which beliefs | ideas | excuses stopped you from pushing forward? Here’s a belief that has really held me back: I don’t believe I’m ever going to make much more money than I do now. And to top it off, I don’t believe that I’m capable of making even close to what I make now if I own my own business. And yet, that’s the dream. If I don’t find a way to believe in myself and my ability to make a good living, I’m never going to make it. Simple as that. This mindset needs to change in 2017. Drastically.
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