Questioning my feelings
The change from the past two years have no doubt been difficult for many of us. I found myself feeling more disconnected and lost during this pandemic with many questions beginning to run through my mind on a daily basis.
Questions like Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Where do I belong? How do I fit into this world? But one question that stood out the most for me was “Why am I feeling so lost?”
The last two years of chaos have caused significant anxiety for me. What’s even more worrisome is how I’m seeing similar stories from other people around the world too.
Struggling with my feelings
As I struggle to understand my own feelings surrounding the events of the last two plus years, more uncertainty, worry, and confusion have come to the surface. And because of all this, I am now on a quest to find answers to my questions and figure out why I’m feeling so disconnected and lost.
Journaling has been my best form of self-discovery, a sort of internal processing if you will. By journaling, I have discovered that this lost feeling isn’t really new — it’s probably been around since I was a child.
Constant Change Throughout my Life
Constant change brings about different forms of loss, and with loss comes grief. Which probably explains a lot of my questions. My parents divorced when I was 4. My mom and I moved quite a bit when I was young. Overall, I’ve moved 49 times in my 54 years. That’s a lot of change.
With that thought, a quote comes to mind by Heraclitus.
The only thing that is constant is change~ Heraclitus
With so much change and loss caused by this pandemic, I think we are all suffering our own form of grief. An example of some of the losses I’ve observed and experienced are loss of friends, family, jobs, businesses, freedom to travel, connections with our friends and family, a stable supply chain, and labor shortages.
But, even with all the loss and change, there have been some gains. This pandemic has given people a chance to think about their lives and take stock of what’s really important. Some folks even got a break from the rat race, a chance to slow down and find a better work-life balance and the opportunity to work from home.
And let’s not forget about Zoom! I had to throw that into the mix!! You either love Zoom or hate at this point. But at least it has been an option allowing us a way to stay connected with people.
Connecting with Friends
I recently read a post from a long-time friend, Janice, on Facebook. I enjoy following her and reading her inspiring posts. To my surprise this particular post seemed to provide answers many of my questions.
It’s a rather long post, so I will share the paragraph that meant the most to me. Janice said: “As we know, grief is different for each of us. Grief has no timetable. Grief can be inconsiderate and rude. It wants what it wants. Eventually, you become distracted by something other than your grief and begin to move out of it or through it. Grief, laziness, lack of motivation, uninspired, depressed, disconnection… they are all related.”
I feel like she couldn’t be more on point. It’s as if the Universe directed me to her post because when I read it, a lightbulb came on — an “ah-ha” moment happened. I must be dealing with a form of grief. I was blown away by how relevant her words were to my own situation. I’ve come to the conclusion feeling lost is just another form of grief.
Janice is a talented writer and an amazing artist. We became friends when I lived in St. Louis, Missouri. Over the years we found that we have a lot in common and share many common life experiences including significant loss.
Keeping a Positive Mindset
With so much happening around us, I feel it’s important to bring up the topic of mindset. Working to keep a positive mindset is so important these days.
I know what you’re thinking: “But, Jackie, it’s so hard!”
YES! Yes, it is hard to keep a positive mindset!! I’m not denying that at all. Life IS hard, and yet we must continue to work toward achieving our best life possible.
At this point, I am finding it crucial to improve my own positive mindset as well as doing some form of daily exercise and eating healthier — doing my best to form better habits. It’s not easy.
I’m currently reading a book by Lisa Congdon entitled “Art Inc. The Essential Guide for Building your Career as an Artist”. In the very first chapter Lisa talks about The Thriving Artists Mindset… and she mentions how much of what separates successful artists from those who struggle is simply their mindset.
She also talks about how to shift from a struggling mindset to a thriving one. When I read this, the first thing that came to my mind is a saying I have read and heard many times over the years: ‘learned negative behavior = limiting beliefs.’
I’m at the point where I need to learn how to rewire my subconscious mind. I need to focus on keeping my mind from creating obstacles and stop responding to ingrained negative messages from my past. When my mind starts to create erroneous assumptions about my talent and abilities, I need to call attention to these pessimistic thoughts and change them to positive ones.
By thinking in terms of possibility and abundance and tuning out the limiting learned beliefs, I give myself permission to thrive and to start building my confidence. My desire is to inspire, bring joy, and generate an authentic connection with people through my art and writing. My overall goal is to touch people’s hearts and influence their lives in a positive, bright, and comforting way.
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Expressing Emotions with Creativity
I have found one positive constant in my life, it’s my love to create. Being creative is a way to express my deepest emotions. And being a creative soul is a personal quest to explore aspects of myself that I have yet to discover. In my humble opinion, life should be about exploring, and it should definitely be an adventure.
With that thought, I am reminded of a quote by Helen Keller.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all~ Helen Keller
The Daring Adventure
I choose the daring adventure! Mine started on May 27, 2016, when I choose to leave my career as a government intelligence analyst to pursue my passion for art. My mind, body, and heart were telling me I needed to leave. I was no longer satisfied and tired of the soul-sucking position that left me feeling disconnected and struggling to figure out who I am and what really matters in life.
Cutting off the golden handcuffs of a secure job, with a decent salary and health benefits, was a difficult decision. But after much discussion, and months of planning, with my amazing and supportive hubby, I was able to take the leap. We set off on our daring adventure.
Since then, I have been on a mission to rediscover my own identity and reconnect with parts of myself I’ve lost or left behind over the years. My journey has been anything but easy. Starting my art business and trying to convince myself that it is possible to be a thriving artist and not a starving one, has been my biggest challenge.
The last six years have been a whirlwind to say the least. Some decisions we made by choice and other events were simply unavoidable.
Of course, moving six times, including building (and then selling) a home we thought would be our forever home, weren’t easy choices, but we made them nonetheless. The biggest hurdle was open-heart surgery for my hubby Derek in 2017. Then a world-wide pandemic. These life-altering events were definitely not planned.
Each event and experience basically became new chapters in life, and I feel like I’m becoming the author of my own story. A whole new chapter now includes our decision to move from the USA to Canada.
Life is a Journey
My life’s journey is all about experiencing life to its fullest, taking each day one step at a time. Some days I might take two steps forward, other days, one step back. Life has been quite the daring adventure so far. I think Helen Keller would be proud. With that said, a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson comes to mind:
Life is a journey, not a destination~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Listening to the Universe
In my quest to find answers, the Universe directed me yet again to a video on YouTube called ‘The Future of Yes Theory.” In this video a content creator named Matt, who is a member of a group called “Yes Theory” talks about how difficult the last two years have been for he and his friends.
Matt mentions how they decided to leave Los Angeles, California, and go in different directions due to the pandemic having life-altering effects the on their successful YouTube channel.
Their motto is “Seek Discomfort” and, as a group living in L.A., they created some pretty inspirational content by expressing themselves from this authentic place. But with the changing times caused by this pandemic, they now do it from different parts of the world.
Matt described how the group is heading in a new direction by saying: “At the end of the day, an artist’s journey is a hidden quest to get to know ourselves — to process the world around us and explore aspects of our personalities we have yet to explore and follow that fire.”
I was blown away by nearly everything he said. His words made my heart heavy and my eyes fill with tears. I felt like he was describing my journey instead of his own. It was so inspiring to know that others are on a similar path of growth and positive change.
Growth and Positive Change
Speaking of growth and positive change, I will be trying something new next week. I’m meeting with Liz of River Roots Wellness in Bridgewater, NS, on Monday. Liz and I will be exploring focus areas centered around anxiety, burn out, emotional wellness and relaxation, mindfulness through mark making, and self-discovery! The session will end with a creative activity to invite joy and calm before I leave! It sounds amazing and I can’t wait.
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