One of the earliest lessons learned in my life was to surround myself with good people and then to create relationships with those people based on mutual care.
“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice.” – Samuel Johnston, (1709 – 1784) British lexicographer
As many of you know, I spent the weekend at an art festival. It was my first festival (although I have been doing small monthly ArtWalks since November). The weeks leading up to the festival, I wrestled with nerves and lots of questions. Was I good enough? Would my work sell? Could I make enough art (whatever enough is)? Should I have spent money on a booth….that much money?
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. –H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
Now, when it comes to taking risks in life, I like to think of myself as courageous, so having all this self-doubt was a challenge. I did my best to work through it but inevitably, it came out in conversations with family and friends. Often during their responses, I would find myself stepping back from the conversation in wonderment at the care they showed for me, happily surprised at how they championed my cause when I could not.
“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson US poet & essayist
With each episode of doubt, I pressed on and could move forward because of their support. And move forward I did! I found a new stride with my art, discovered pathways to expressing my imagination like I never had before. I hit the studio with exuberance and at the end of the week had a collection of work that left me feeling very satisfied.
As the event took off, I found answers to some of those questions that had been haunting me. Could I make enough art (whatever enough is)? Yes, I had enough work. And what was enough? Well, for me, it was the amount I needed to fill the tables I had brought….pleasantly sufficient. Would my work sell? Was I good enough? I came home with less than I went with, a handful of intentions to buy, many more whispered wishes from passer-by’s, and an endless flow of mental snapshots documenting bright, exquisite faces en-joyed with seeing my art. Should I have spent the money on the booth? Again, yes. It bought me this exquisite experience.
At the end of the weekend, just before my over-worked husband rolled over for a much deserved nap, he mused, “You really do know a lot of people, Rachél.” It had been a joke over the weekend that I might do well to run for mayor, I knew an endless flow of the people that walked by my table. So many friends came out to support me that I felt like I had made jumping up to give a hug a new sport.
I offered him my appreciation for reflecting that for me and then, he added, “It’s your superpower, connecting with people.” That’s when I realized that selling art this weekend and making money wasn’t what had driven me to do the festival or even to make the art. This whole thing had been about connecting. I made art for the beauty it might bring to someone, for the story about myself it shared, because people who loved me knew they might know me better for having expressed myself in this way and because they wanted to see me make my dreams come true. That is the power of friends. My relationships were works of art: the old, tried, true, and new.
“A Friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wanted to end my long, beautiful weekend by sharing with you my very deep appreciation for YOUR support. So much of the encouragement I got from friends came from this group of lovely souls that has come to known as the Creativity Tribe. I felt you with me each step of the way. Your support was invaluable!