A focus on process, like mindfulness, can reduce our fear
Day 8 - July 16, 2021 – Something New
I was at the south end of the Rogers Park beach off of Albion Street today – so very different. It’s just a small stretch of beach; it used to be connected to the rest of the Rogers Park beachfront, but over the years a stretch of sand has been lost to the lake, and now the waves pound right up against the concrete wall blocking it from engulfing a residential apartment building.
I drove there after my chiropractic appointment because I decided one week of walking to the beach, my back spasm yesterday, and feelings of exhaustion dictated a gentler approach to the day. The beach was raw, serene, cold, and beautiful. The water was rumbling and crashing, spitting up beautiful treasures at my feet. Though I wore rubber flip-flops, I still danced away as the waves hit the sand – too cold for me.
I was entranced by the glass I found today – so much tinted pale blue and seafoam green – plus several pieces of driftwood caught my eye. All came through in today’s art, titled “Layers,” both for the treasures I found, and their placement, as well as the blue-green inked background that felt organically beachy as I painted it.
What I wanted to create today made me – required me – to have a new experience. I saw the piece almost complete in my mind before I got to the studio but knew it would be a challenge logistically.
Over the past few days, I’ve learned that most of the inks I have (procured accidentally from the resale store) are water-based, not alcohol-based. Creating art on tile calls for alcohol-based ink because a water base will keep the ink from drying and adhering to the tile. I’ve ordered a set of alcohol inks, but they haven’t arrived yet, and the three alcohol ink colors I do have were not ideal for bringing my vision to life.
So, the challenge was to come up with an alternative way to use the water-based inks… I selected a 4” x 10” tile with a beveled edge and cut a piece of watercolor paper (paper designed specifically for use with watercolor paint) to fit the inside of the beveling, to create a natural white frame.
Then I adhered the paper to the tile with heavy-duty spray adhesive. It was a little nerve-racking placing the paper, as I wanted it to be even to create the framing effect! But patience is one of my superpowers, so eventually, I got it just where I wanted it and tacked it gently down, then rolled over it with a brayer to create a smooth surface. Then to painting!
I chose shades of blue and green water-based inks to create the feel of the water I’d been mesmerized by at the beach. Then it was time to play. I’m not a watercolor artist, so I had little to no experience working with anything like this medium. Still, as I placed drops of the inks and water to dilute them into the wells of the mixing tray the words “NO FEAR” formed in my mind.
There was nothing to fear because my 30-day project is all about the process, not the outcome. All I needed to do was be there, in the moment, and explore with an open heart and mind. I began hesitantly, but within seconds I was having so much fun I lost all need to control the process, it just fell away, and the rest was pure play.
Today’s art touched my own fearlessness – “Just do it!” my inner child seemed to chant!
I felt brave. I felt like there was nothing I could do that would be “wrong” because there was no dictated outcome required.
This lack of need to produce a specific outcome, more, the unwritten rule of my 30-day project - to let go of controlling the process - seems to free me at a cellular level. I stop thinking, ruminating, trying to keep my arms around everything. And the less I think, the more I like what I create. Interesting, because that is how it tends to work for me with writing.
Whatever comes organically is usually the best. One week in and this project is bringing me joy, evolution, wisdom - bettering all of my six selves.
Looking back on this experience...
I knew this was the right thing to do, yet I am still amazed. Maybe part of the amazement is that I followed through. So many times in the past I have dreamt of doing, being, trying – but stalled on implementation. It still feels surreal that I did this 30-Day project - acted on my desire, interest, self-direction.
Why last summer? Why not earlier in my life? A theme I am only beginning to contemplate and explore…
I feel like a woman who has been climbing a mountain into the clouds, never able to see its peak - then suddenly breaking through the wisps of white to realize I stand at the top. I can see for miles in every direction and everywhere I look I see peaks, valleys, new heights to scale, new meadows to explore.
Free, fearless, found. I am NOT going back!
Take imperfect action now!
Until tomorrow... For Your Consideration...
What would you do now if you knew you couldn't fail?