“We do much damage by not being patient with our own evolution, which by design and necessity luxuriates in an abundance of time and plot twists. We communicate to our own souls that we don’t have faith in them, in their intimacy with the creative life force. We sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to see if the elves are sewing things up. We rush a verdict so we can get home for dinner. We try to make things happen, hoping that in doing so we don’t inadvertently open the darkroom door while fate is developing our pictures.
Patience is the missing link in the discernment process, in the search for clarity of calling and the readiness of heart, and in the waiting for the events to unfurl and talents to ripen.
But time in itself won’t suffice, because the discernment process isn’t just about being patient but about being actively patient. It is about taking up the pickax and digging, chipping away a bit at a time at our stony questions, or feeling our way like a bird that travels for thousands of miles guided only by instinct and the whisper of magnetism.”
Gregg Levoy, Callings…Finding and Following an Authentic Life
First of all, let me say that I love how this man writes and, secondly, that I have read this book at least 5 or 6 times over the years. Now, it’s not that I didn’t grasp it on the first read, but each time I reread it I discovered something new; perhaps something that I missed at first or just wasn’t pertinent to me until later. Much like re-watching a favorite movie, you pick up on little nuances that you missed on the first or second viewing. Of course, sometimes you watch that movie again strictly for the eye candy (my favorite right now is Superman…Henry Cavill! Okay, that has nothing to do with patience or art, but I digress…)
My experience with patience and the acceptance of it has come mainly with age and time. Enough time to build up a life full of experiences, time to have something to look back on, and to create a frame of reference. The time between these experiences is equally essential, as it allows you to see how the circumstances unfolded from a distance, not while you are drowning in them. Giving you a chance to look back and understand the lessons or purpose, instead of trying to figure them out while you neck-deep in it and just trying to keep your head above the water line.
This all became very obvious to me as I looked back over my struggles with my art, not in the making of it but in the promoting of it. I can’t begin to tell you how many company name changes I have had, how many branding ideas or banners I have created and never used, small business bank accounts left empty or how many times I have started an Etsy site and never hit publish (still haven’t). I could not for the life of me understand why I was never satisfied or sure or happy with any of my ideas. My husband would just shake his head whenever I showed him something new and say ” For God’s sake, Jodie, just do it, just decide!” but I couldn’t or I wouldn’t and it was driving me crazy.
Then one day I just decided to STOP! Stop trying to control everything, stop trying to make it happen, stop driving myself and my husband crazy! I decided to put my fate in the hands of the universe and just wait to see what would happen. I continued to make my art, but I also took the time to look back on my struggles and tried to figure out what was blocking me. What I discovered, but really probably already knew, was that I was trying to do it all and do it all perfectly right from the get-go with no prior experience in any of it. I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that I needed to learn and was simply not up to the task. I needed to step back and start again, one step at a time.
Forget the big picture, the end result…I decided to look at it like eating a bowl of porridge. Start at the outside edge where the porridge is thinnest and the edge has had a chance to cool with the cream. Slowly work my way in and, as I do, the next bite is now thinner and already cooled. By the time I get to the middle, there is no longer a middle because it has spread out to the sides, a mouthful at a time. The same idea works for my art, start at the outside edge with something safe and small, don’t even think about how far you have to go because it will have changed by the time you get there anyway. If it takes years…who cares.
I started a Facebook page for my needle felting art “Jodie at Play” (once I let go of the struggle, my name came to me in a dream…seemed like a good sign). From there I created an Instagram site and then this blog. All had huge learning curves, but one leads to the next and so on. The things I learned from FB I used on Instagram and then again in this blog: computer skills, photography skills, writing skills and courage. I realized that I never had the skills needed to try and tackle it all at once – I was never meant to – I was instead supposed to learn it one step at a time.
Today I no longer try and control anything, I have no set rules or expectations. If something comes my way that I am interested in, then I will pursue it. If not, I just keep doing what I’m doing. I am happy and satisfied with where I have come and how my art has evolved, but more importantly, I now trust in myself and in my belief in the importance of patience.