Why It’s Great to Be Imperfect

{flickr photo}

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”
~ Harriet Braiker

It could be hilarious that I’m the one to write this post. After all, I’ve been known to discard drawings and crumple up grade school art projects because it wasn’t good enough.

But I also may be one of the best people to talk about it because I continually grapple with perfectionism and have found ways to release its hold on my life.

It’s easy to get stuck on a broken record of perfectionism. Because we never get there, it can lead to eventual burnout and depression.

How do we get ourselves off of this insidious path?

Walk right into your fear. You say you’re afraid of making a mistake, screwing up, letting people find out how flawed you really are? I dare you to do something that will force you to face that fear. Infamous The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron says:

“Sometimes I will write badly, draw badly, paint badly, perform badly. I have a right to do that to get to the other side. Creativity is its own reward.”

Isn’t that quote so freeing?

It allows you the permission to be bad, to unleash your rebellious side, to quell the inner micro-manager that says everything must be perfect in order for you to create it. Not only that, but as Cameron says, it’s your right to do so. There is nothing shameful about being imperfect. There is nothing wrong about being flawed.

Here’s a secret: we’re all born that way. Why not embrace it?

A few times a month I release my inner bad boy and create just for the sake of it. Sometimes what comes out is beautiful, other times I need to try again. But exercising my imperfection muscle is always worth it. It reminds me not to take myself so seriously. And to remember that feeling scared, uncertain and being a beginner are the keys to self-growth and to being human.

If you have been feeling bored, discouraged or depressed lately, check in with yourself. Are you on a hamster wheel of perfectionism? Have you allowed yourself the time and space for error? When was the last time you tried something new or did something without adding a disclaimer such as, “I’m really not good at this,” or “I can’t do it?”

If you want to free yourself from perfectionism…

{Click here to find out how to reinvigorate your life sans perfectionism…}

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Creative Friday: Coral Necklace

I traveled to Greece, Mendocino, California and Arizona and brought back this little ditty of inspiration.

I love ocean inspired things and seeing red coral always brings back the fresh, tropical, sea style I’m drawn to.

In Arizona, I noticed a lot of women wearing and selling necklaces with red beads.

When I returned home from my trips, I went straight to Michael’s in the hope that I could save the $100 it costs to buy a coral red necklace and make my own instead.

DIY coral necklace

And I did.

This was one of the easiest DIY projects ever. I just bought two separate beads from Michael’s. [I think it was about $6 total.]

Then all I did was string the red oval beads in between the coral ones with fishing line and then added a spring ring and a crimp tube (leftover from a decade ago) to one side.

That’s it! Practically a no-brainer. And that’s important since I’ve been having blogger’s block lately. You can imagine how grateful I am for easy non-wordy projects like this.

How about you?

Did anything visually inspiring and text-less lately?

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Crafty Fridays: Spring is Here!

Well almost. Whenever the sun peeks out from the clouds, I feel like rejoicing the end of a long winter and celebrating spring, which to me symbolizes hope.

One thing that’s helped me to shake off the last shot of winter blues is to paint. After my husband gave me these yellow daisies for Valentine’s Day, I was inspired to imbue my own living room with a shot of color. Just like those new spring Target commercials I’m loving. Anyone else stop fast forwarding the DVR when you see those colorful commercials?

Anyway, as you can tell I’ve been enamored with photography lately, but still have a special place in my heart for painting. Here’s my latest craft to celebrate the start of spring and the weekend. Hurray!

It’s adding a pop of color in our home and for that reason I’m fancying it quite a bit.

What my husband likes best about this little painting is the unintentional 3D effect I created on the canvas. With no training, I can’t say I did it on purpose. But I always love and am grateful for serendipitous moments like that.

Working on anything you’re proud of lately? 

Whether it’s getting in your minimum word count, exercise count, or you finally did something you’ve put off for weeks, let’s be happy and crazy and celebrate our latest endeavors here.

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What’s Scary About Being Creative

 {Thanks @kristinoffiler for your Facebook comment that inspired this 4:06 pm in the afternoon spontaneous post!}

I was rambling on Facebook yesterday about more things I fear. Maybe it’s Halloween that’s started the domino affect or the several hours a day I spend reading psychology articles on anxiety and depression. But I’ve been talking a lot about the things that scare me lately.

That’s when Kristin gave me a good book recommendation for Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles. I did a digital thumb through and read about how the author Gabrielle Bernstein interpreted fear. In it she says,”I’ve learned that much of what I feared in my life was not frightening at all, or in many instances even real. I’ve learned that fear is simply an illusion based on past experiences that project onto the present and onto the future.”

It’s an interesting and provocative statement. And I agree on many levels.

While I wouldn’t say that every fear is attached to a past negative experience, I do believe that fear like any other emotion, stems from a purpose. It’s in our DNA to have fear as a way to protect ourselves. Over time that defense mechanism could have developed because of past experiences of feeling rejected, abandoned, criticized. The important thing is being able to weed out the real fears (the kind that can save your life) from the illogical and unnecessary ones (the ones that can ruin your life).

A lot of creative people have fears. Fears about their art being not good enough, not worthy, of being rejected. It’s the same kind of fears that I face when I create something. Or hopefully and more importantly after I create something.

Fear + creation = debilitation

Creativity – fear = Creation.

What I think Bernstein is talking about and what Martha Beck says in her February 2006 O magazine article below is that learning to deal, confront, have acceptance for your fears is what can render those fears powerless. They are always going to be there. It’s the way we respond to them that can change everything.

“Once we’re willing to confront our emotional suffering, we begin making choices based on attraction instead of aversion, love instead of fear. Where we used to think about what was “safe,” we now become interested in doing what seems right or fun or meaningful or ripe with possibilities.” – Martha Beck

I think what was so triggering for me about this topic is that I am a proponent of fear.

When I was in high school, I was extremely shy and introverted. But I tried out for our school play. I had just a small dancing part, but it was one of the best and most exciting experiences of my life.

As an introvert, the experience gave me butterflies in my stomach. Every night I put on my blue and white striped knit dress and tights, powdered my nose and lacquered on bright red lipstick to my lips. Ever night I told my play-mates how nervous I was. Except for that one night.

One night I was cool as a cucumber. Didn’t have a care in the world. The butterflies were gone. My palms were dry. My heart beating at a meditative level. You can guess what happened next. I messed up big time. Unfortunately it was the night a few local celebrities were watching in the crowd and it was the only night videotaped.

That was a big lesson for me.

I learned that when you have the right amount of adrenaline and fear in your system you’re more alive and present because you care.

Why Am I So Passionate About This?

I think fear can be your friend. I think fear can teach you about who you are right now and where you’d like to be in the future. I think fear is the brother of courage-you can’t have one without the other. I’m cautious about ridding myself and eliminating any emotion for the “fear” of it being repressed. A lot of the issues I see from others and myself stem from a denial or a lack of acknowledgment of negative emotion. When we can learn to embrace what we truly feel, when we can truly listen to what it is we’re feeling and accept it, we’ve essentially released the ghost and the power it has over us and over our lives.

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Creative Friday: I’m Not Creative

I’m a big believer in the power of words, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you since I’m a writer. But this might. I’ve only recently begun to unwrap the layers of meaning behind the words.

Meaning like: “I’m not a creative person.”

That’s the type of thing I told myself for several years. I thought that to be creative you needed to be a creative genius. Back then I thought I didn’t have the “right to create” because I wasn’t creative enough. And the impact those words were having on me affected what I thought was possible for my life.

Nowadays those words are closer to, “I’m creative and everyone is.”

That change has opened doors for me. Instead of hiding my passion in fear of how it would be judged, I let go and gave myself permission to fully express myself. It’s given me a second chance to be the creative person I was meant to be. Nowadays I’m working on slideshows, taking photos for my Etsy site and feel as creatively inspired as ever.

And that inner critic? These days, I’m keeping my eye on him by documenting my thoughts on my new handmade journal. Just in case he gets out of hand again and tries to convince me I’m just not creative enough.

What fears hold you back from being more creative?

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Creative Friday: Baking Words

Anyone ever peruse their old docs just for the thrill of it? To reconnect with the you that wrote those words? Or review an old photo to remember what you were feeling when you captured that shot?

Or am I just the only dork that does that?

Lately, the one thing that I’ve been creating a lot of is words on a canvas and capturing a few photos along the way.

For my Creative Friday task, I’m sharing a vintage poem ala 2007 and a modern photo I took in Mendocino weeks ago.

Hope you like it!

Awaking to the thought

That everything around me

Is an untouched painting

And the people who laughed and crowd me

Just characters in my own working play

The birds that startled me

Just songs to an unheard melody

All my own creations

Waiting to be born on a productive day.

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You Have My Permission…

One thing we forget when we get to be adults is that we always knew what we wanted to be when we grew up. And we already lived the life that we dream of.

There was a time when we were kids when the world was big and scary, but in a single moment anything was possible.

For the most part, we did what we wanted to. We lived the life we wanted to live.

Maybe as adults, we just need permission to live that way again.

Here is a permission slip that will hopefully release you from the rigidity and pressures that now plague you as an adult.

 

Why?

Because you have my permission to do the following…

The laundry will still be there tomorrow. The dishes will still need to be cleaned even if you cleaned them today. But more importantly, life is too short to worry about these things.

What would you add to your “permission list?” Pick one thing and do it this week.

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