When your heart is breaking…

Hug Eyes Closedcrt
At the start of 2014 I committed myself
to completing my creative career goals, nothing else would do.

To recap, it was to (self or otherwise) publish two of my children’s stories as picture books another as an e-book and at least one of my scripts as an animated short. To set up a web page, keep a blog about my creative journey and to set up my own artist studio.  Whilst doing this I would also be the best teacher I could be
and bring as much creative inspiration into my lectures as I could.
Well  ‘Life’ mustn’t have read that post (or did it?)

I knew this year would be finacialy tight but I was ready. I wanted to take occasional days off from all paid positions, to dedicate to my productions. This could be done because a day without income is better than not achieving my goals.

I would be teaching and working in my studio thats it. So I got my ducks in a row I saved and decided not to spend money in areas I didn’t need to. I was so motivated I was almost levitating.

Then small things started to happen, just little time consuming things nothing big …. I kept trucking on.
Then I had a few finacial dilemmas that popped up which took some hard thinking and some other life things like bereavement and friends in need … but  I kept trucking on.
Determined to reach my goals made me focused, fear of not achieving them kept me moving forward at speed.

Thats when the Truck actually HIT ME!

Well truthfully it was a plumbers van, but you get the idea. My car which was one of my ducks, had been maintained instead of upgrading, so I could keep finacial expenditure down this year. Said car was now a write off.

after accident

after accident

Thats o.k I was insured and not in the wrong …. for the moment I just kept bicycling on … nothing was going to stop me achieving my goals.
The insurance paid out, 1/3 of what I was expecting, due to fine print I didn’t know about.
But I found a little car that would do for now and I could afford, I needed to dip into savings for book number one to do it,
but I was still motoring onslower and not so good up hills but

During all these mishaps, accidents and life journeys I was starting to think I would never achieve my goals. On the surface I was putting on a great show of optimism but underneath my heart and nerves were taking a battering.
My new car needed more work than I thought but that was o.k
…I was doing o.k!
Around me good things were happening that lifted my spirits and motivation.
I didn’t feel I had a right to feel sorry for myself.
So I shook it off and recommitted to getting there.

It sort of worked:

  • the builder had set a date to start my studio renovation.
  • I had finally picked the two stories I would move into the next development faze (this had been a big problem)
  • We had started to look at the different printing options and pricing.
  • I had managed 1 extra day off.
  • I was enjoying writing my blog.
  • I had written new lectures and the students seemed to be enjoying them.
  • The web page was being developed ….. I was achieving the small steps that would eventually lead me to my goals.

But I had a feeling of  something foreboding just out of sight.

Lilly and Skye drawing desk

Writing or in my studio my constant companions are my two dogs, Skye and Lilly.
They are always at my feet or on them and have heard many a story draft.
I was coping with the minor set backs I was having but I was still happy.
But then Lilly developed a rare disease and within three days
of showing a small sign of something wrong, she was gone.

“That was it, my heart broke and any forward momentum ceased”.

Not on the public face, I still needed to teach and do my job I had to keep smiling
and trying to be motivating and inspirational.
But all my own creativity was gone and I couldn’t look at any of my work without thinking of Lilly
and the other things that had happened.
Lilly
This also made me look at other things in my life with a skewed perspective, which added to my unsettled state.
I knew I needed to change how I was feeling or this would go on
and taint any chance of what I wanted to achieve.
I had taken many knocks over a two month period and I just didn’t know if I could get up again,
so what did I do?
I talked to others around me, who supported me but knew they couldn’t make me feel creative.

Eventually I did what so many others do,
I GOOGLE‘D it.
Search was something like this: ‘How to keep to your goals when things go wrong’
Result: Irritation, anger, and flabbergasted
why is the number one goal on the net to loose weight!

Health is an important goal, but that isn’t just about loosing weight, most sites told me how to refocus on my weight and training…. anyway in the end I did find a couple of blogs and my trusted go to for inspiration TED
to help me enough to feel like I could be normal’ish. (great talk on stress). http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

If I had written this blog 3 weeks ago it wouldn’t have been pretty and I am glad I didn’t.
At first not doing the blog added greatly to my stress as this is one of my absolutely must do goals.
But working through this over the last three to four weeks has helped me come up with some new ideas for keeping your creativity and sanity a little healthier.

What I have learned and have put into practice.
No#1 new idea: When something happens that knocks you slightly, process it before moving on, or you will make it bigger in your mind.
No# 2 new idea: It is better to keep your goals in a soft grip so its easier to adjust. Things will happen, it’s just life, which is more like sailing than tug-of-war.
No#3 new idea: This isn’t really a new idea I tell my students to do this all the time. I just forgot it for me. When it’s not working take a quiet walk, take a breath then try again. (sounds simple but time to yourself is magic) step away. Time away from your goals is important if you want to achieve them and have a happy life, (actually thats probably idea 3.a).
No# 4 new idea: have faith in yourself, you can deal with and achieve what you need to. Otherwise you will always be looking in the shadows for something bad to happen. Have faith you will manage with whatever may happen and prosper.
No# 5 Biggest old but forgotten, so new, idea: Remember and celebrate the good and wonderful things and people in your life, it makes your heart healthier than any diet and will always help you keep on track with your life goals.
There will be times when you don’t feel creative, thats a sign you need to take time just for you and look after yourself. I also realises that all grief, sadness and disappointment is relative … to you… only you know how it makes you feel and only you can decided the appropriate response for yourself. Remember how you approach the situation will help, but don’t just ignore things that happen.

Yesterday I was going to hear a publisher give a talk about the situation in publishing at the moment.
I was very excited and had been looking forward to it for sometime.
Then a cyclone (small, med) came to town and everything was cancelled.
Was I disappointed, of course?
This must be kept in perspective, people whould have suffered property damage and maybe worse yesterday,
but I just missed a talk.
With my knew way of thinking I just sent a prayer to all those in the storms path
and moved furniture around in my newly built studio. (Next weeks post, will show the renovations)

I haven’t seen the news this morning and I do not know what the storm damage is.
I do know I will  cope and if I need to put down my goals to clear up I will.
What do you do to stay happy healthy and creative when life gets you down?

All my love and I hope you have sunshine.
xx Allie

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Exciting news!

It has been a long interesting year, with many new developments in our stories and production plans. This blog site is another move forward getting us ready for the new web-page and shop. 2014 will be en exciting and busy year with books being published and new productions in the works, there is no time to rest but I am looking forward to a quiet time in the studio over Christmas. Thank-you to those who have helped me bring my stories to life and encourage me to keep going. You know who you are…. big HUG for you all.

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