Lesson Three - Rita H.

This lesson really blew my socks off.  I wrote for two hours today, (thanks to an unexpected snow day.)  The serendipity is amazing.  This lesson to me is all about our thoughts, and what we believe about our thoughts.  Thinking about all my committees, every move created a new tribe and I quickly promoted some to my committee! I realize that so much of what I was feeling, was actually what I THOUGHT was happening in other people’s heads of judgment about me. Sort of like being addicted to drama in my head.  My (already expressed) need for love and approval has been a thread closely connected to those committees.  I do hear voices.  And now I understand that I make them up.  MOSTLY.  There are times when the disapproval is real, like Jane’s experience with those two former board members of the southwest Design Center.  She was not making that up.  So now I understand that this lesson is giving me the tools to dismantle that committee, weather real or imagined.

I really explored my Tribe that I recently left, and how I have been affected by it.  This lesson clarified so many things.  When we moved here (CT) we rented a small apartment until we figured out where to settle down.  Last January, I took the opportunity to rent a small studio in an old factory called The Nest, which had about 20 other artists. I really thought I was renting a space for me to disappear into my own world and do whatever I wanted creatively.  In a few months I felt over my head as it became apparent that there were expectations of all the artists.  Initially I liked the idea of being part of a community, but it began to frustrate me as to the expectations and time required to be part of that community. Such as: having open houses every month, having to clean, paint. and fix up the place, pay extra money for a fund to generate business.  It sounds great if you are a working artist and have a website and inventory to sell, and desire for that kind of business.  I just wasn’t sure I belonged there.  But plunge on I did, because these people were my first “friends” I had in this new place, and I went ahead and just promoted all of them to my Committee. (Didn’t know what I was doing at the time but I do now.)  I am very sensitive, and wanted so much to be accepted, but most of all loved and approved of.  Old patterns emerging all over again.

I bent over backwards to fit in, I desperately wanted to be accepted as an artist, and was constantly comparing myself to the others.  Feeling rejected if I did not get great feedback from everyone there. My art quilt journey has taken on a different direction this past year, and it is taking so much more time, and I only finished 4 pieces that I don’t want to sell, so I felt like I wasn’t much good for the Tribe.  I was very hard on myself, feeling guilty if I wanted to do something not “artistic” like making a bathrobe or baby quilt, so I tried to hide that part of me.  I never felt like a “serious” artist, and felt guilty if I was NOT there, like every day I was not there I was wasting the rent money (which is not exactly disposable income.)  We finally moved into our house in August, which again took lots of time away from my studio at The Nest.  I did not have time to really unpack here because there were demands there so my own home was not being attended to. 

I decided in December to move my space back into my house in the finished attic.  It is very wonky as I have mentioned, but there is room once I figure out how to fit it for my needs.  When I personally told some of my closer friends that I was moving, it felt like they were judging me.  That I was leaving them although they didn’t actually say that.  I made it clear I wanted to be in touch (I live only two miles away, literally.) and still be included in some of the activities, but I know that it will take work on my part to initiate.  It also hurt my sensitive feelings that some let go of me so easily.  But, in my writing today, I kept writing the word EXHAUSTED, which is what I am feeling about creating all this drama, much of it in my head.  I had turned The Nest into my Committee, but now today, I can accept it just as part of my journey.  Honor the connections that may or may not surface from there, and just be grateful for my new space.

I have realized that I am too sensitive and expect too much love and approval from people who don’t necessarily play that kind of role in my life. That is what is exhausting for me. They never put themselves on my committee.  I DID.

A big committee member was my father. Growing up in an alcoholic house was so confusing, I never got approval from him (and not making that up).  As an adult I have forgiven him, he had a disease, I didn’t cause it, and he did do the best he could, and always loved my mother no matter how crazy things were.  Now when my thoughts turn dark and allow the voices in, I am learning to notice the thoughts and accept them as just that.  Then come back to the now, be present and just be me. Forgiveness has been a huge gift for me, even if it did take years after he was gone to get to this point.

So now I am searching for a new tribe, but I also will now be aware of what I am doing with that tribe.  In time I will make friends here, I know winter is an isolating time, so I look forward to the spring to see who will bubble up.

I didn’t do an art piece this week.  Instead today I spent time fixing up and creating my NEW NEST and this is the photo I am submitting. THIS to me represents my newly won freedom from the Committee. It will be a work in progress for a long time to figure out my creative space, but it is here I can work and dream whatever I want, anytime I want.  I am grateful for this space, and especially for this Lesson!