It has begun to bother me that I am not finding working with my pastels as much fun as I used to. When I cleaned up my studio over the weekend and put them all away it felt good. I thought it must be time for a break and to do something different. But that didn't feel exactly right either. So I sat on the couch and looked at the work that I had gathered over the past year and I figured out what was missing . When I started using pastels I did not have any expectations of myself. I was always surprised at what I created and often found that I was really pleased with my efforts. Then slowly over time I began to put pressure on myself to get "better". I started to look for growth in my work and worry that I was always painting the same or similar theme. I became my own worst critic and slowly I began to lose the joy of painting.
As I sat across the room looking at the work I hung on the wall I found myself rejecting the notion that it wasn't good enough. I saw that although there was an ocean or lake or river in every painting they were all little different. I was no longer bothered that there wasn't a focal point or that the painting lacked that final pop of color. Instead I was encouraged by the peacefulness that each picture represented and the memories that they created when I looked at them.
It is easy to get discouraged when you start finding fault with what you create. It is easy to listen to those nagging critical voices that tell you it is time to get better. But it is more important to remind yourself of exactly why you are creating. Is it to always be chasing the dream of being the best or getting better? Or is it to create something that you enjoy doing and that brings you happiness? I'm opting for joy and happiness. How about you?
Wednesday's Kaizen-Muse Coaching Tip: Take time to reflect. Take time to sit quietly and remind yourself of what is important to you. You can journal your thoughts or keep a reminder journal of what makes you happy now and what made you happy in the past. Bring those things or attitudes back into your life. Remember why you paint, or sew, or decorate your home. Remember what makes you happy when you do these things? Then celebrate the moments when you are truly creating from the heart! It makes a difference.