Monday, August 27, 2012

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

Hiya. This week's APR theme is "Inspiration". What inspires you? I read about so many artists having a muse. I don't have a muse. (unless a Hosta plant can be a muse, lol. But that's another story.) I'm not even sure how you get a muse or what it does for you. I mean, do they talk to you, 'cause that would be cool! When I'm stuck in a rut it would be great to have some funky dressed fairy (or goblin, who knows) give me a nudge of where to go with my art. But I don't have any kind of helper like that so I rely on quotes to get me through when I'm in an artistic funk.

My very good friend Tracey wrote a blog post a month or so ago with an incredibly inspirational quote embedded in it. Trace admits that she doesn't remember where she found the quote but that it helps her grow in small but significant ways.

"Lean Into Discomfort"

I read this quote and Tracey's take on what it meant to her and found myself incredibly inspired. I've now pilfered her quote! It inspires me to push myself just a little farther than is comfortable. As Trace said...

"We all have moments of doubt
and trying to fit into different moulds & ideas
and finding our style and artistic identity and all that.
Moving outside our comfort zone
makes us feel wobbly and freaked out
and for me it is because I don't like the struggle and fight.
I am essentially lazy and so
it all just seems a bit like too much effort half the time.
But leaning into it,
that, I can do.
Just mosey on up and sort of recline up against it,
kind of like subtly invading the personal space of discomfort.
Not yelling at it to get out of the way
or giving it a big push and shove,
just giving it enough pressure that it feels uncomfortable enough
to move over a bit."

She explained the quote perfectly. We, as artists don't need to be aggressive with ourselves, pushing and pushing for new and different. We can just lean into discomfort, add just a little pressure and give ourselves the room to grow naturally. Think of it like exercise. Trainers say you should push until it hurts just a little, then as your muscles heal over the next day of rest before your next workout, they grow stronger for the push.

I love this quote and that's what I did my art about this week. The postcard sized piece sits in a little frame right next to my work desk where I can see it everyday and remember The Lean. Thanks Trace, for your wonderful friendship and for allowing me to steal your superlative quote. I truly appreciate it.

I added the Leaning Tower Of Pisa as a tongue-in-cheek visual

The last minute touches for FEATURING magazine are being done and printing of Issue #2 will commence soon. Yippee!! If you haven't purchased the premier issue just click here, when you purchase you'll be entered into a draw to win Issue #2 after you fill out our survey. I'm so thrilled to be a contributing editor of this terrific art magazine!
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  1. Hi Jenn!

    I thought you'd be interested to know that my older sister Janet graduated from Woodbury University last weekend with a Masters of Art in Organizational Development. She writes a bit (too!) esoterically on her blog for my understanding (she is Left Coast, after all), but she posted this recently on her Facebook page, much in keeping with your topic today:

    "I then remembered a book I read about ten years ago by a Buddhist teacher named Pema Chödrön who wrote a book with that title: Comfortable with Uncertainty. In this book Pema reminds us that, "groundlessness is the only ground we have to stand on"; she challenges us to aspire "to act from an awakened heart, beyond the tunnel vision of the self, expanding outward to include compassion for all of humanity". She writes, "What keeps us unhappy and stuck in a limited view of reality is our tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to seek security and avoid groundlessness, to seek comfort and avoid discomfort." In her wisdom, she suggests that the next time we wake up in the morning feeling the "heartache of alienation" to try to relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart, to take off our armors of self-pity, and to commit to gently helping others do the same."

    Is it ironic that two people in my life write today about "uncertainty", and is that perhaps what keeps me from doing my best and realizing the potential of my passion?

    I suspect it's so.

    I worry about so much self-introspection, at least for myself. In doing it, I worry about that which I will find. Ignorance is bliss!!

    Or as my dear hubby is wont to say: "So they've examined your head, and have found nothing?"

    LOL, or my favorite test: CAT scan. Meow, meow -- as they run a Cheshire over the scanned part. Meow. Have you studied hard for that urine test?

    Early a.m. hours make me ramble, and I find myself more comfortable with leaning into my discomforts. Does this make me part werewolf?

    The CardMonkey.
    You know who.

  2. Wowee this is almost like 'Philosopher's Corner', lol. Wonderful post & words above from Ellen - Thank you.

    Inspirational words indeed - to me - giving me gentle nudges to perhaps inspect without retrospect and move forwards in a positive, fresher frame of mind. I do 'Lean' away from discomfort - perhaps I'll try wearing my chains on the other ankle and see how I get on :0)

  3. Silly me! I didn't even mention your picture Jenn - SORRY - I was so taken with your words.
    I think it's wonderful and the Pisa image is a great touch. Brill idea to have it near to you while you work :0)

  4. Aha! So Tracey is your inspiration muse! ;)

    I like that turn of phrase. I guess I have been leaning into looseness. Much less scary. ;)

    I absolutely love your colorful "inspire"!!! :):)

  5. Does this mean I am your muse... I want to be a muse... not sure I want to dress like a fairy... or a goblin for that matter.... but I am glad that you love the quote... it is a cracker... I loved doing this week's challenge... and loved clicking on and seeing this ... you have made my day...xx

  6. Beautiful, beautiful post Jenn. It so resonates with me. I keep hiding behind comfortable, but need to get more intimate with discomfort. Thank you for the reminder. Hugs xx

  7. HI Jenn..super beautiful post..powerful insights to shine with and your posts are always inspiring..full of wisdom..beautifully written! and gorgeous art..Pisa is a powerful image to reflect upon!

  8. Enjoyed reading about your inspiration this week. I like your card for a nudge in your creative area. I tried "feeling' like the tower, and it was very uncomfortable! I kept feeling like I was going to fall! That is one of my fears, falling, from a high place! Thank you for the challenge this week, Jenn.

  9. Such a beautiful quote and Trace sure knows how to get a point across. I often lean too far and topple but Trace is always there to pick me up. I think Trace is both of our muses (if that's a word). So Trace, I expect you to be dressed as a fairy muse when I come over next, that would a-muse me :) I love the style of writing you used and that tower is really clever thinking.

  10. I remember reading Tracey's post...very inspiring! I love your artistic take on it too. Great post, Jenn! :)

  11. Tracey writes such an intelligent post and so true. I love how you picked one of the most famous 'leanings' to remind you to keep pushing yourself.

  12. Thought provoking topic and comments - as usual yours are very thoughtful and using Tracey's quote as a touchstone is great. It's a good reminder for all of us.

  13. Your post has been "visiting" me and inspiring me for a few days Now. Same with the wonderful comments shared. I love the camaraderie of this group and all the inspiration within it. I DO a good bit of leaning into the various discomforts I find in Life and this piece of yours complements that very well!!

  14. I love that quote and the idea of keeping it next to your work area, Jenn. Tracey can be so humorous, and yet so deep. Blessings!

  15. If this shows up twice, my apologies! I clicked on something and ended up in blogger no-man's land. Thank you for this week's theme. You, my dear, are quite an inspiration. You come up with these awesome themes that cause much artistic muscle stretching. You inspire many of us to go where we have not gone before. Thank you for that. And thank you for making the inspiration cold butter free. *GRINS* Warmly, Tracy

  16. OK, you sketched ME! I felt a little like the tower of Pisa last week - leaning... leaning... falling...? We dealt with the stressful discomfort of a little boy's asthma attacks,and while it is a discomfort of a different sort, it is still one to lean into as we learn how to adjust and live fully despite the attacks. So this is an appropriate and helpful quote for me not only in art but in life in general as well! But yesterday I was able to lean into the "comfort" of art again for a bit, so hopefully I'll be back at APR this week:-)

  17. these quotes by the desk are really great inspiring things! my favorite one I have up is "do or do not.. there is no try" with a picture of .. you guessed it (maybe) Yoda from Star wars :D :D this is a great quote too since in discomfort is where progress occurs


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