Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not a Personal Ad

Not a typical blog post from me, either.  Creating isn’t always about the physical product, it is also about creating a life, and making lemonade when life hands you the proverbial lemon.  Today I’m going to share a little about the mental processes I go through while still managing to make art.

Since receiving the EBay award last November, I have been able to upload images of my artwork more frequently, blog more, research galleries and shows, and more.  Hits to my website are up, and I’ve been able to get a lot more accomplished in a fraction of the time it took while working on my old desktop.

The problem, if it is a problem, is that I became used to sitting at the computer for what felt like hours to do simple tasks like checking my email.  Now that it takes less time, you’d think that would mean I had more time to do my work. You’d be wrong.  What it really meant (up until now) is that I had more time to surf different websites. 

This has not necessarily been all bad.  One of the sites I found was The Fluent Self.  Havi Brooks, and her duck Selma, offer regular blog posts on her processes involving getting destuckified in all areas of life.  I find her approach different, refreshing, and actually applicable to many of my own personal areas of stuck.

One process she describes, which I have had trouble with, is the personal ad.  The way I understand it is that, if there is something in your life you need or want, instead of writing an affirmation, or performing any other sort of “traditional” prayer or supplication, you write a request in the form of a personal ad.  She blogs her personal ads, usually on Sunday, and says that the reader may respond with their own personal ad in the comments, or report on personal ads in the past which have worked, and how the desired request was answered.

I have written a few ads, and left them in the comments.  I have asked for, among other things, a copy of her Shiva Nata DVD set, sales of my work to enable me to pay my summer bills, and a job for my husband in which he actually reaps the benefits of the work he does (in his last retail job, he was unjustly terminated before he could receive the five figure bonus he had earned, and in other retail jobs he has seen other people receive the promotions he has worked for and earned).  But all of those ads felt weird, somehow, and I wasn’t exactly sure why.  And I gave up on the idea of writing an ad, because at this point my wants/needs feel so overwhelming that it feels as if there is no possible answer, so what is the use of trying (I did win an award with my artwork, so I guess you could say that one of the ads was kind of answered).

In today’s post, Havi writes about the process of not being able to write the personal ad, and she suggests several questions to help you work with that stuck.  She shared her answers on her blog, and I’m going to share mine here.  It’s an interesting process, and I invite you to give it a try as well.  There really is nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain in terms of learning where any blocks you may have lie.

With that in mind, here are the questions, with my answers:

Question #1: Even though I don’t know what I would even ask for…

I do know I want things to improve.  I would like things to be more routine, or should I say, I’d like to have a process that I follow so that I know what to do even when I don’t know what to do.  (Kind of like having a workout routine to start the morning, or knowing that every day at 2pm I go into the studio and work on art until dinner time).

Question #2: Even though I don’t believe that there is any way on earth that this would ever work…

I want to believe.  I want to comfort that little child inside me who is afraid that nothing will ever get better.  I want to try.  I need to let go of the idea that it has to be perfect the first time, and allow that it can be a fluid process that changes as my needs change.

Question #3: Even though I feel really, really uncomfortable when I just start to think about asking for stuff…

I need to realize that no one is a mind reader, and that they won’t know I’d like it  or need it if I don’t ask.  I also had an epiphany that part of the reason I have trouble choosing what to ask for is that we took a trip to Holland MI for the Tulip Festival when I was seven.  We went to this shop that had all kinds of little knick knack plastic toys and I went nuts buying things there.  Then we were in another shop with beautifully dressed “show dolls” in lacy, ruffled ball gowns, and I wanted one of those *so* bad.  My grandparents were the ones buying everything, but my mom said “no”, because I had gotten so much “junk” at the first stop.  Ever since then I have been afraid to say yes, in case “something better” would come along later that I would have to say “no” to. 

I also have learned that asking for something puts a burden onto the person who is being asked, and if they can’t afford it, you are being inconsiderate and selfish.

Asking for something means that you are being greedy, and not satisfied with what you have.  “Who do you think you are” is a big one in this part.

Now what?

Now I plan to sit with the answers for a while.  Recalling that trip to Holland was a huge breakthrough for me.  Realizing that I also am suffering from a little “all or nothing” thinking also is an eye-opener.  I believe some journalling is in order to help work through these blocks.  I will keep you updated on the process, and share any personal ads which may come out of it. 

In the meantime, I suggest you check out Havi’s blog, and the great freebies she offers so you can see if you are one of her Right People.  I have been able to take several of her phone workshops, and I highly recommend those as well.


Kirsty said...

It never ceases to amaze me how much of our attitudes are rooted in our childhood. I've been exploring my relationship with money recently and it's fascinating seeing what comes up.

Gayle Pritchard said...

Your post reminds me of at least one good part of the technology we currently enjoy: those of us going through similiar things are no longer quite as isolated as we once were. As artists, we become somewhat isolated by default, yet we can't always be "on" as you well know. The circumstances of life interfere with the quiet and calm sometimes necessary to just sit and think about creating. It's tough sometimes.
Our mutual friend, Susi, has often talked about writing down the perfect "want ad". The concept isn't new. I think it's about allowing ourselves time away from fearful, if realistic thoughts, to uncover what perfect solution our minds can conjure.
Isolated friend in Cleveland connecting with you. I feel your pain!

Andi Stern said...

@Kirsty Those childhood things are so much stronger than I think adults realize as parents. I know I am still working on that pattern of feast or famine with the money issues; My dad was in the auto industry and we would go through long lay offs and once a strike, and when we had money we had money. I'd like to be more even keeled on that one for sure! :)

@Gayle I would be adrift w/o the internet. Being able to see that I am not alone is so helpful, and I hope I help others by showing them they're not alone either. It was really scary putting this post out there, I'm glad for the loving feedback (hugs)

Victoria Brouhard said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who continues to deal with deep areas of stuckness that came out of one small childhood interaction.

It's extremely comforting to know I'm not alone.

Andi Stern said...

@Victoria Those childhood things are just insidious, I had forgotten about that trip, but it really did set a stage. My parents would continually bring it up whenever I had a similar decision to make. I really debated posting this, but I am glad I did. You are not alone :)