Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I can't believe I actually feel excited again! I have to admit, I love the internet...

I had been going through my usual mid-winter, end of year, I hate the holidays, etc. doldrums... I stayed up really late last night trying to "assess" the past year and prove to myself that I had achieved something and not just wasted another year. I eventually gave up at 2am and went to bed. I slept surprisingly well, but woke up feeling panicky and trapped by lawyers and publishers and ex-husbands. Not necessarily multiples of each one, but you get the idea. There was a crowd of unwanted voices in my head!

A few weeks ago, I alienated almost my entire group of business mastermind colleagues. While that's a very impressive and thorough feat, I'm not sure if I should include it on my list of accomplishments for 2012? It certainly wasn't my intention! I was trying to explain an inkling I'd experienced. Many of you have told me that you are on a similar quest to mine - how to figure out what the heck you should be doing with your life!!? I have proven to myself over and over that MONEY is not the "purpose." YES. I need money. YES, I want money. Lots of it. But that is so that I can DO things. It's not the reason WHY I do things.

I had had an experience where I was part of a group who experienced profound joy, happiness and pride... in someone else's success. It was the kind of feeling where you really feel like you might explode! But it wasn't just MY feeling. Almost everyone at the event was feeling it. It was shared - and magnified - and I didn't want it to end.

THAT. That feeling is what I want to build my career on. I guess it is crazy, but that's what I want.

In my usual fashion, I have been torturing myself trying to figure out how all the things I CAN do, can lead me to this goal. In short... I have NO idea what the heck I am doing. But I have learned that completing one of my own goals is not enough if it doesn't involve a success for others as well. For example: I have been sending off manuscripts to publishers since I was fifteen years old. When Totally Tangled was published by Design Originals, the real success, happiness, goal-achieving feeling came from the fact that there were other artists involved in the book. At the book signing, we were all yelling and signing each others' books.

My brain has been wanting to curl up in my studio for the rest of the winter, eat Cheetos and watch Vampire Diaries. Maybe draw something too. :-) But my heart and creative bits want to DO something. Get together with people. Make a difference. Help someone help themself. Create. Make friends. Get OFF the computer... I know I need to open The BeeHive already. Stop being so scared and just see what happens. Maybe no one will show up. This week. But maybe someone will come next week? Just start.

So why do I love the internet? Oh, there are SO many reasons, but today, it's because that's where my mentors and my tribe are. (I'm talking about YOU!) :-) When I dragged my brain out of bed (and the voices of the ex, the publishers, the lawyers, etc.) at noon and sat in front of my computer - there was a new post from Marie Forleo (my hero):

She not only encouraged me to just start already, but she shows how she started her MarieTV. And she shares a quote:
"Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision."

I found myself yelling (in my head) "Yes! Yes! Stuff and money are not the POINT!" and "I need a VISION!" Of course, I realize that I have a vision. It's that thing that makes my heart feel like it is being ripped out when I don't know what I can do to help in certain situations. I had this strange sensation that if I could find a way to put that feeling into words, then I could start working towards my purpose and vision... goals, whatever you want to call it.

I wouldn't feel like my world was being cut apart every couple of years when I have to reinvent myself and my "job". The purpose and vision is always there whether I am an Egyptologist, an illustrator, a teacher, a store owner, an author... a mom...

These setbacks that we all have, some more than others, are clues, just as the little "inklings" are clues. Sometimes, we are so busy moaning about what's not fair, or hurting us, that we miss the quiet sparks of insights. There are clues scattered everywhere! All I've been seeing is the clutter.

In November, I had the chance to work with Ally Piper of Bright Eyes Creative. I enjoyed talking with her so much - her mind works a lot like mine. I asked her to come to my home studio first before our "real" meeting at the business studio. I wanted her to see all the things that no one else sees - my home is like my portfolio! When we were talking in the business studio - now called The BeeHive - we brainstormed and came up with lists of amazing ideas of all the things I could do. Later, Ally emailed me the list with all the action steps needed to be successful. Wow. You know what I did? Yep. Panic attack. Overwhelm. Not because of the list and all the work involved, but because of all the things that were left OUT! How screwy is that? What I realized was - if we had sat down in my home studio and made a similar list, it would have been ten totally amazing things that I could do, but completely DIFFERENT from what we came up with at The BeeHive. Oh dear. But now I know that this is where the VISION part comes in. I need to evaluate, eliminate, adjust all the good ideas to see what and how they can fit with my purpose and vision.

Ally is doing a group, online, business retreat on January 14th - it's called the Napkin Note Biz Plan.
And I'm going to attend. Now that I have a slightly clearer, well... less foggy... idea, I want to evaluate all my options and decide where I should focus my energy. You can look at the page for all the details, but here is a quote from the description that sums it up for me:

The process I’m going to share with you keeps me sane when my creative mind takes off in a million directions and I start teetering on the edge of overwhelm.

Seriously, is that me or what? Yep. And how about you? People call creativity and imagination a "gift" but sometimes it can be a curse too. How about a class for learning to control your super powers? ;-D Cape optional.

I haven't written my official resolutions for this year yet. I'll take a shower first, procrastinate a little bit more... but I'm thinking I will be less specific than usual. Something to do with redirecting my energy. I realized this morning that my energy has been consumed by vampires in my life. Yes, I did invite them in. I'm naive, gullible, trusting. Alrighty then. No, I have no idea how to break free of them, but I've watched enough Vampire Diaries in the past few weeks to know that I can start by hanging out in the sunshine instead of the gloomy shadows!! The BeeHive is bright and cheerful and it will be open from 3pm-9pm starting this Friday. I'd love to hang out with you too!


  1. Happy New Year, Sandy;

    Thank you so much for sharing the process you are going through right now. Much of it spoke to me, and my creative, flighty, "all over the place" thought processes. Although I won't pretend to have the breadth of what you have on your plate, I am working hard on narrowing my focus, and including everything that is truly meaningful to me, while weeding out the excess.

    I also wanted you to know that your books have been so inspiring to me. I go back to them time after time, for inspiration and direction. They are the most dog-eared in my art library. I have even made sticky note tabs for them so I can find what I want, quickly. I only started tangling in June, and your work has contributed immeasurably to that. Thank you.

    My mentor's statement to me, as we talked about this year, was to remember that I am a human "being", not a human "doing", and that the best thing I could do, both for myself and others, was to be true to myself, because my "self" was put here for a reason. While I'm still working on wrapping my head around that one, I think when I "get it" things will quiet down a lot... both in my head, and in my activities. I won't feel pulled in so many directions. It just struck me that it may help you to think about this as well.

    Sorry for the long message, but your post really pulled at my heart strings, and resounded with me.

    May you find your heart's desires in 2013. Beth

    1. Ooooooo... sticky note tabs! Genius. :-)

      Yes - I like that human "being" not "doing" thing... so, when we are just being, what do we do?

  2. You have both spoke to me. the struggle of what am I here for and is this all there is to my life has been pulling at me for a few months now. My goal is to get my ideas though my brain and out of my hands and this year I AM going to do more with my art. Beth is right, your book is looked at a lot. My 6months of tangling has taken over most of my other creative life. Of coures some of them I paint behind and then tangle on top. Please keep up the faith and 2013 will be an artistic venture for us. carol

    1. Every year I put "make Art" on my resolution list... maybe this year? :-) I only seem to make art if it is for a book. maybe I need to come up with a very clever book idea that will let me - and all of you who have the same problem getting motivated - actually get to work!

  3. Because I have learned so much from you Sandy, and your books, I am moved to share this with you:

    Now that I am of Crone age, I have seen how similar are the life experiences of women. As I watch the struggles and successes of my own 36 year old daughter I have come to believe that, for women, the time between 35 and 45 (more or less) is filled with the questioning, angst, and success I have read in your posts.

    And so I would like to share a few of the things I have learned to be true for me, which have been said best by those who have come before me:
    "Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing." Helen Keller
    "It is better to travel than to arrive." Buddha
    "Just trust yourself then you will know how to live." Goethe
    "Life isn't about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw.

    In closing, I would like to add something to George Bernard Shaw's quote and share the belief I have today:

    Life is about creating yourself over and over and over again. When you learn to love your personal journey and truly accept the different journeys of others, peace will come from within. We are all here to learn and to love.

    With great love and many blessings, Shelley

    1. Mmmm - great stuff. And reassuring too - thank you.
      I am definitely learning about the re-creating part. And the re-writing of the "story" (the one we tell ourselves) seems to be more important now too. Perhaps that's the religious and mythological significance of people being created from clay. The constant remolding and reshaping...

  4. How wonderful for you that you have this idea of something bigger for yourself. A lot of people don't have that. I believe you will do great and wonderful things because of it. And yes it is scary (I am going through the same things myself right now) but it is so completely worth it all. :)

  5. Sitting here in New Mexico, reading your latest Bumblebat email and looking out the window at the sunshine and beautiful blue skies, is a Wonderful way to start my day.

    I love your ramblings, not a criticism but a compliment because they help release the “all consuming positive/negative creative monster" that lives in our brains. I know from experience because I have one too; always creating something new... and I am a conversational rambler.. as in this post.

    If I lived closer I would certainly take part in the upcoming "Napkin Note Biz Plan".

    I love it when it when my brain takes over and all sorts of new ideas come flooding in. You say to yourself... why didn't I think of that before.

    But wait... there is something lurking in the shadows and it's adding more and more and more ideas. It's like eating one potato chip and you can't stop because they taste so good. Our brain inhales each new idea until it consumes all of our thoughts. Why can't it just give us a few new ideas at a time instead of a flooding river which eventually drowns us!

    So Doctor Barb takes over and writes herself a prescription... keep a creative journal. I take an hour, if needed, and journal all new ideas which usually includes all instructions. I am a gourd artist, so I usually include a rough sketch of each new piece. Do I complete every new idea... NO, but it helps release it out of my mind and I can always refer back to the journal if I want to.

    Now, luckily for me, most of my creative juices flow during the day but sometimes they come to me just as I am falling asleep or waking up. They are always there, never ending.

    Good luck with all your new endeavors and keep the emails coming.

    Barb Wolters

    1. Yes - a flood. Notebooks and sketchbooks are a flood around my studio too! I have a sketchbook for murals, one for stuffies, for painted furniture, for PMC and jewelry designs, five or more for Zentangle.... oh dear. But as Shrek says "Better out than in." hee hee.

  6. As a fairly newly disabled person, my life has turned upside down. Learning what I can still do is a challenge and sometimes very discouraging. But it has been a lifelong journey to get here and I have always pondered on "why am I here?"

    I still don't know the answer to that question, but I'm feeling a lot cheerier about it. Thank you for sharing part of your journey.

    1. I lived past my expiration date and have been trying to justify my existence. How crazy are we?!

      You pointed out another reason to love the internet. Access. To everything.

      I'd be interested in hearing more about your journey too. :-)

  7. Well said! Living and functioning for the betterment of others is a great vision. You will not be left out of the equation, I'm certain of that.

    Hope to be there Friday and maybe I"ll bring Cheetos..... of that, I'm not as certain!

    1. Better not bring Cheetos. Abstinence is my best policy right now. :-) but DO bring yourself!!

  8. Hi Sandy - Please keep in mind that you can have income AND creative goals and that the two are not mutually exclusive. Frankly, if you don't love and thoroughly enjoy "income," you might limit yourself to the things you set your mind to, such as being creative and poor at the same time.

    I definitely could write a book on the subject because as a creative person myself, it too me many years to realize doing something for nothing (no matter how high intentioned) generally got me nowhere and that it is OK to not only think about money, cash, moola, and scratch, but to rake it in, too.

    Please realize that once you have bags of cash at your personal disposal, you don't have to spend every last dime to lavish yourself!

    A few months ago I read about Laurel Touby, a NYC woman I *greatly* admire, who founded After about 10 years of fun, she sold her company for $23-million. For more info, read "The Loft That Mediabistro Built" in the November 2012 New York Times to find out what she did with her windfall. I do hope you have similar opportunities. And with luck, you, all your contributors, and I can achieve financial success and together enjoy life while funding our loved ones, foundations, religious affiliations, community educational efforts, and other works that help surround the world with goodness.

    Last, the hardest thing to achieve is what you do not know and have not experienced. The trick is to figure out what you do not know. Start by listing what you want - really want - then for each thing, list what you have (you don't have to think about or work on those issues any more) and what is missing. The key is "what is missing." From there, figure out the easiest and fastest things you can accomplish within that topic. Then do them. And pretty soon you'll become an expert in uncovering the unknown for your highest and best good (as well as the highest and best good of those you love).

    1. I think people keep misunderstanding me when I mention that money is not a "reason" to do something... for me. i LOVE money. I want gobs of moola. I have tons of ideas to create and places to go - that need money to make them happen. And I don't "give it away" anymore. But I have learned that getting paid a lot is not enough.

      If I had a windfall like that lady in NY, I'd pay off everything, set aside enough for my future and my kids and mom, then I'd set up trusts for small women biz owners and start an art center and incubator. And hire other people to run it, so I could still do my own thing. :-)

      The advice about what I don't know is what I need to learn... that's a very good point! And a challenge is often what I need to serve as a temporary "purpose" too.

  9. A little animation that proves why you're not nuts about this topic and the precarious balance we creative on demand types maintain to create and earn our living.

  10. Oh that is great! It's nice to see that others, and research too, feel the same way.

  11. Wow I actually read through all of that.
    Money.. Root of all evil I think..
    Though it's not everything we cant do anything these days without it..
    I see nothing wrong with wanting more and more of it and doing wonderful things to get it..
    So many out there do bad things and things to hurt others to get it its nice knowing there's some good neighbors still out there..
    I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing

  12. Wishing you a brilliant year, Sandy, and all the best for The BeeHive - wish I could be there! Hope it all comes together for you in 2013.


  13. I just love to read you blog you express what is going on is so many people lives. here's hoping I learn something. I to have a home based business, lots of starting stuff & never finishing. just customers stuff gets done. here's hoping for a much more productive year to all

  14. YOU ARE SO NOT ALONE!!! You've captured so many of my own thoughts and feelings.....Don't beat yourself up and (try) not to live up to ANYONE ELSES expectations...
    It's not about anyone else but You! The only person you have to answer to is YOU. I'm (trying) to live by own words...But those little beasties get inside my head and somehow take over!!! That's when you just have to oil up your back and slide those monkeys right off! Thanks so much for your words!!!

  15. Oh I LOVE that image of the monkeys sliding off...! :-)


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