Many years ago as a teenager, I let some friends talk me into going to a small graveyard outside of my home town in Oklahoma. I was reluctant, not because I was afraid of ghosts but rather I didn’t want to disrespect the dead. Little did I know that this nighttime adventure would have an important lesson for me, a lesson that is more relevant now than ever. In that little graveyard, I found myself separated from the rest of my giggling pack. Standing there, I noticed the names and dates on the headstones….they were all toddlers and young children…rows and rows of them. They had all passed away during the Spanish flu of 1918.
Honestly, for the first month of this lock-down, I didn’t feel like doing anything creative. Like many of you…the horror of the pandemic, and the possibility of economic collapse has just been OVERWHELMING. How do you cope in chaotic times like these? In a situation where you have little or no control?
Trying to answer these questions has brought me back to my memories of my great-grandmother who lived through the great depression.
My great-grandmother was hardworking, resourceful, organized, and she spoke her mind in a kind and gracious way. I remember a story that she told me about how she had lived in a tent with her husband and children during the Great Depression. She said it wasn’t that bad because many people were living in tents. Her faith, humility, and hard work are what brought her through that terrible time. I try to remember this when I’m having a tough time, and follow her example. Sometimes we stumble, but we just have to cultivate our faith and try it again the next day. The following are some things that I have been practicing that I believe have helped me.
Time to Reset, Be Open To Changing Personal Goals
After soul searching, I have decided that I need to get back to basics; What projects do I want to focus on, how can I better serve my family, friends and, community? Is there anything that I’m holding onto that no longer serves me?
Your Home Is Your Sanctuary
Our environment says everything about us and its a reminder of what we have created…good & bad. Immediately I started to de-clutter…my mind and my stuff. I started with packing stuff up. Anything that can be donated I have set aside until the donation centers open again. Anything that was worn out, you know those dozens of pillows and other decor that we all have? All that got taken to the dump before they closed. Now that I’ve started this process, I don’t see myself stopping. Without all that excess stuff, my home feels very different, cleaner and less chaotic. These changes have really helped me stay more calm. Honestly, I don’t miss anything that I let go of. PS; I donated a car too! Yes, I was paying insurance on a car that I hadn’t drove in 6 months.
Focus On A Few Projects
This is a hard one. It’s hard to funnel my manic need to create into just a few projects. In addition, it’s hard to complete projects when there are so many chaotic events happening in the world around us. My advice , just be gentle with yourself. There will be days when all you can do is eat a box of cereal, stay in bed, and watch endless hours of TikTok. This is OK! Just do your best, and try not to judge yourself.
I’ve been creating artwork again. The goal, play with new mediums and try not to get attached to the result.
I’ve been working on a class for Skillshare, and online learning community. My class will be called Retouching & Casting Fine Art Prints in Resin. In this class I will be teaching my process for retouching and casting prints in resin! This class will have ALL of my secrets, everything I’ve learned since my resin journey began in the early 1990’s. Sorry, this class will only be available on Skillshare.
Get Outside, Take Time To Reflect
Below is footage of one of my walks.
Limit What Comes In
I know, this is a hard one. When this first happened I felt like it was my responsibility to watch & read everything about it. What I discovered was that I wasn’t taking care of anything else.
Find Fun, Productive Hobbies
Love & Cherish Your Quarantine Partners
Connect With Others, Offer Gratitude
I’ve discovered Zoom. I love being able to visit with my friends and family. Reach out, there are so many people that you know, kinda know that are really suffering. Our ability to build a community is so important, and we should never take anyone for granted.
Send letters to people that you are thinking about. A doctor or nurse that has taken good care of you in the past, a relative that you’ve lost touch with? There doesn’t need to be a reason.
Be Extra Nice!
Now I know all of you are nice! But, let’s be extra nice to essential workers and everyone else that you see at a distance. Even if they are being salty to you! Take the high road. Tip restaurant employees twice as much as you usually would. Thank them, and let them know how you appreciate their contribution to society.
I hope my simple plan here will help give you some ideas on moving forward. My friends, we are all in this together. My hope for the days ahead is that we will be kinder, gentler & be more supportive & tolerant of one another.