There are good days, and there are GREAT days, and some days are SO good, SO great, they really give you moment to pause and reflect. Today was one of those days.
It’s been a pretty steady run lately of things going right creatively, and that always helps immensely in terms of boosting the happiness quotient. I think part of it is that I’ve been forcing (or, really, allowing) myself to spend some time each day to do something new, different, experimental, untested. Since I’ve started doing this my feelings of achievement and satisfaction, really, have gone through the roof. As a creative person, time to play is a gift you MUST give yourself, and yet, so often it’s so easy to forget. So anyway, that’s my ‘me’ time, and we all know that me time is happy time.
I woke up today looking forward to my morning coffee, to catching up on stuff online, to turning the Christmas lights on and getting some tunes going. All that good morning stuff that in truth, I look forward to every morning. When I checked in on Facebook, I was greeted with three different jewelry artists’ posts having to do with my work. Two totally beautiful creations made with my beads, and an excited post about the arrival of some of my beads overseas. I say often that my greatest pleasure as an artist is making things that become part of someone else’s creative journey – in whatever way. It’s very special and I never take it for granted.
Maybe that’s what got me going this morning. In any case, by 10:30 AM, I was worked up into a positively incandescent state of bliss.
The day had established itself as a freakishly fabulous day, and it wasn’t even noon. How often does that even happen? Some days I’m not even up by noon! As the day wore on, I kept thinking about how lucky it was that I was having such a great day, and how thankful I am to be doing what I do every day.
And then it got deep.
I realized that a year ago today, more than likely, I was lying in bed in the dark, wishing and hoping that I could fall asleep again so I wouldn’t have to think or feel anything. I was firmly in the grip of a very serious, deep depression that had been going on for a while. Quite a while. For months and months and months on end I’d been trying to sleep my life away – it was the only thing that brought me any relief. When I was awake, I was wrapped up in blankets reading a book when I could concentrate, or watching my 16th hour of TV that day. I was alive, but I felt dead. My greatest fear, and something that I thought about over and over and over again during that time, was that my creativity would never come back. That I would never paint, or draw, or write, or make beads again.
But I did. And I am. And as I type this, tears are welling up when I think about how much things can change in a year. How much we can survive before we begin to thrive again. It is in us, that ability to withstand. Strength and resilience have been my constant companions throughout life, mostly out of necessity. I know a thing or two about it. And I know, with every fiber of my being, that just when something looks like it will never EVER be good again, it will.
It really will.
The other day I was thinking about what I was like as a person, as an artist, back in the early 2000’s – a decade or so ago. Before a lot of life happened. Before a lot of sadness, a lot of suffering, a lot of loss. I was different then. I know I was. It makes me a little sad to think of it, because when I do, I know that somewhere along the way, I lost some of my magic. Some of that sparkly energy I used to be able to share with the world is gone. Old artist me was a colorful bright happy plant that bloomed without effort, and new artist me has grown gnarled roots and some of my leaves have dropped off. But I still see beauty in everything, and I guess that is a kind of magic in itself.
I will have to think about this more, but I do know that whatever I am now, I am happy. I’m here. I’m creating stuff. And life really is good.
You will love this interview with Caroline Casey, which just resonated in so many ways with all I was thinking and feeling today.
“Handmade things will feed your ancient soul because everything has a story, the story of the maker and then the story of the person who receives the work. By making handmade things, we’re tapping a force that says we’re not destined to accept what fate has assigned us. We want to make things because it’s a way of changing our lives.” – Caroline Casey