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Searching for Simplicity

I don’t know about you but the whole holiday season can be a little overwhelming for me. All of the advertising, the busyness, the crazy onslaught of email and special events is enough to make me so uptight that I actually withdraw and disengage from some of my usual activity. I find myself craving simplicity and then trying to figure out how I can balance that desire to have less while being a person who needs to sell things for a living. How can I strive for fewer things in my life, advocate for a more simple lifestyle and at the same time need to be constantly creating and selling? It’s taken me some time, bouncing ideas off of others while engaging in serious meditation and introspection to figure out how to make those two things that seem contradictory to actually become one healthy whole.

The answer that I found was in the definition of simplicity, what living a simple life in this society really looks like. And that can be different things depending on your outlook. The first thing that it looks like for me is to really examine the stuff I have in my life, not just the physical stuff but the things that take my time. I have prioritized my activities and I try to keep a healthy balance of time commitments, including a regular rhythm of rest, like having at least one day a week that I really don’t work at anything. (So much easier said than done!) I have also begun taking a hard look at the physical things in my five bedroom house, and that is where I start to feel challenged. There are so many things in my house that have just been there for a really long time and they actually do nothing for me or anyone else that lives with me. It can be overwhelming, but I try to just focus on one small area at a time and then honestly appraise things. My closet is an excellent example – if I haven’t worn something in two years, probably it should go. The next step is to take that from room to room and be careful about new acquisitions. So far, so good.

But then I look at my work and I wonder to myself, “How can I ask people to buy my artwork while desiring to live with less myself?” If I don’t practice what I preach then I can’t have any respect for myself, so this is a really important thing for me. I have wrestled with this a lot lately, but then I came to a realization. It’s not that I want to live with nothing in my home and in my life, but that the things that I live with need to have meaning and be life-giving things. Kitchen gadgets that I never use have no place in my life. Artworks that speak to me and bring me peace and joy are another thing altogether. If I look at an item and it can transport me to another place, if it speaks truth to me and elevates my mood, then that is worth having in my home.

So I am looking at all the things in my home and asking, is this just stuff or is it truly useful or is it uplifting – is it art? And that is what I challenge you to do in your own life, too. Every time I ask you to consider purchasing my artwork, which I need to ask you to do, ask yourself if this is just another thing to you? If it is, then carry on without guilt.

Or instead is it meaningful to you? Does it speak to you and make your heart sing? When you look at it, does it capture your imagination and tell you a story? Then by all means purchase it! Contact me and let me know and we can work something out. You can ask me if you want to pay for it over time or if you’d like something else like it but a different size. However my work speaks to you and whatever happens, I really want to be adding something meaningful to your life.

 

butterflies, butterfly, floral,
“Attraction” Photo transfers and mixed media on 12×12″ cradled wood panel. Currently available $350.

 

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