When everything around you feels like chaos and even your own mother is disappointed in you... it is very easy to forget your purpose. Assuming you ever knew it in the first place. You give yourself points for keeping your head above water and repeat over and over "Keep swimming, keep swimming." (Yes, Dory from "Nemo"). Come to think - maybe Dory has another lesson - because she constantly forgets what she has just done or who she has met, everything is constantly new for her. Hmmm... I need to ponder that one too.
Anyway. "Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
I have been wracking my brain trying to solve (perceived) problems for my mother, my children, even my ex-husband. I have "complaints" about work, friends, family, real estate, and the current state of Zentangle®. Seriously! I bet you all know what I mean? It is so easy to fall into that state of just being discontent. Like everyone is out to get you and messing up your stuff... just because they can. Yes, we both know it is just a way of thinking about it, "thoughts become things", be happy, don't worry...
I was trying to remember why I felt so much MORE confident last year even though it was filled with insane events that were not in my control. Sure, I whined plenty last year, but I FELT more in control of my own actions and feelings. Is that confidence? This year, as part of my feeling-like-I have-to-solve-everyone's-problems I've thought about moving my studio downstairs where Wingdoodle (my recently closed store) used to be. I've been agonizing over what to call it - The Belfry- doesn't really work for a ground floor space, how do I fit all my stuff into that space, and how do I run another store when I can barely keep up with all my current endeavors? Yep, I have seriously been making myself crazy with these stupid thoughts. Yet, when you finally get angry enough to want to scream - that's when you actually find out what is important to you - my inner child is yelling "but I don't WANT to move! I don't WANT to run a store! I don't WANT to be responsible for solving YOUR problems!" Interesting.
I am a problem solver. Some people would call me an artist. My mother calls me flaky. But I work in whatever medium is required to solve the problem. It might be acrylic paint, glass, dirt, teaching Zentangle or database design. "Problems" are not always bad things - often they are just situations that need ideas or solutions. And many, many times, there is no one within ten miles of me who can actually see the problem that I am addressing. Once the problem is dealt with, there is no point (for me) in doing the same thing. To many people, it appears that I lose interest or I move on to something else. Flaky. If I continue in the same vein, repeating something - like running a store, or other repetitive work - I get depressed and lose all my confidence. If I continue to solve things and do new things, I gain confidence, make friends, make money, and I'm pretty much happy. It makes sense.
The one area where I seem to get really snagged is in the area of solving problems FOR a person. I KNOW that you can't change other people. I KNOW that, but my brain can't distinguish one challenge from another. What I have recently come to understand is that my confidence is reinforced from helping people to learn to solve their OWN problems. No, not like a therapist, more like a Zentangle teacher. I have been explaining Zentangle for years as a way to teach creative confidence. I have noticed that even the Zentangle people have taken that tagline as their own to replace "meditation" in their descriptions. Because that's what everything important boils down to: creative confidence.
People with creative confidence not only can solve their own problems, they take responsibility for themselves (thus decreasing their negative impact on those around them), and they see the world as basically a good place with some "problems" that need tweaking.
Here is a wonderful TED talk by David Kelley on this very subject.
Creative confidence is what powers our perception. What he says about the people who are afraid of snakes makes sense, but the example of the MRI machines is just a whack to the side of the head. "DUH!?" We are afraid of things because we are told to be afraid of them. We make everything so much more complicated than it really is. It's all perception. If I hear the words "CT scan", "radiation", "Xray", "needle"... agh, my hands start to sweat. I have had plenty of bad experiences with all those things and more. But take a look at the MRI room in this video.... ohmigosh it looks like FUN!
Hospitals are cold, impersonal and terrifying. What else would you expect? But one person saw it as a problem to be solved, had a vision of how to fix it - his friends thought he was crazy - but he made it real anyway. And now it seems so obvious to everyone.
So instead of feeling cut off from people because they don't see what I see, perhaps my purpose in life is to help change what others are seeing?