The Art of Failure: An Interview with Artist, Ryan Crawley

In art and in life, failure is inevitable. Sometimes, when we're creatively stuck, it can seem like we've failed. When we have to let something go, it can seem like we've failed. When we have to change directions, it can seem like we've failed.

I interviewed artist Ryan Crawley about his experience with failure, and how he decided to shift his art-making process to promote creative movement. This is his story:

Using Art To Find My Way: A Story of Creative Guidance

Guest Post by Leara Glinzak

Between trying to balance my life with work, having a dog, going to the gym, and being an all around happy, healthy, successful, accomplished, independent person, I felt like the only thing I was good at was working. Not accomplishing - just working.

This was certainly not where I decided my life was going to stay forever - this was not it. I didn't know what "it" was and even to this day I am still not sure. All I know now is that the art guided me to where I am today and my life is much better now than where I was before I started my painting.

Courage Over Shame: How To Own Your Truth, Even When It's Scary

When I'm struggling, or I feel like I'm not where I want to be in my life, the last thing I want to do is tell people about it. It seems easier to just wait it out; when things are back to normal, it's easier to talk about the struggle with a little perspective. Broadcasting struggle as it's happening feels scary, and vulnerable, and exposed.

Before I published a blog post about my financial struggles during my first year in business, I was scared out of my mind. "I can't share this," I thought, "people will think I'm a failure." Finances are the area that I feel the most shame, so the thought of sharing my money struggles felt so counterintuitive.
 

When Change Feels Like Losing Your Mind: A Story of Spiritual Emergence

by Jessica Sabo

When I quit my job in mental health, I did so because I wanted to feel more sane. Though I really enjoyed working with my clients, some of whom experienced psychotic episodes or delusions of one sort or another, I became tired of never being able to do enough self-care to recharge at the end of the day. 

My decision to quit my job had been accompanied by some other powerful inner changes: namely, creating relational boundaries, allowing more adventure through travel, and deciding that I wanted to move closer to family. Though these changes all felt empowering and right, they were all still just that—changes. My decisions to align more with myself in my life had launched me into a period of major transition and change.

How To Use Art To Get Clarity: A Step-by-Step Art Making Process To Stop Confusion

When life gets confusing, and you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, or you can't seem to figure out what to do next, the best thing to do is listen to yourself to find the answer. But what happens when the confusion and inner (and outer) chaos drown out your inner voice?

The True Cost of Following My Dreams: How Creating My Dream Life Almost Broke Me

When attempting to inspire and motivate people to follow their dreams, it can be easy to paint a utopian picture. I see it all the time - entrepreneurs and motivational figures sharing their $80,000 weeks, posting pictures of themselves working from their beachside villa, or in some cases, lying about their life in order to convince others that they’ve “made it.”

I’m no exception. As I’ve made my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve had some big wins, but I’ve also had some big losses. And while I don’t outright lie about my life, I’ve chosen to keep parts hidden because, honestly, I’m scared. “How can I inspire others if I’m struggling? I need to show people that the choice to follow their dreams is worth it.” That’s the belief that I carry around, and I’m sure many other entrepreneurs do as well.

But that changes for me today.

Positive Affirmations and the Anxious Mind: Why Affirmations Don't Always Work to Shift Your Mindset

In the pursuit of your dreams via the self-help world, you’re bound to come across the Law of Attraction, made mainstream by The Secret

The premise of most manifestation work is to put yourself in the mindset of the life you want, by way of your thoughts, in order to make it true. When people can do this, it works. There are countless stories out there if you need proof.

But what happens when your mind is, for whatever reason, predisposed to think about the worst case scenario of any given situation?

The Dark Side of Following Your Dreams: And What You'll Need to Find the Light

Choosing to chase your dreams is hard work. I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s not hard in the sense that I have to drag myself out of my bed every morning; when I wake up to create my dream life, I practically jump out of bed. 

No, the hard work I’m talking about is deeper. 

How I Knew My Dream Job Was Not My Dream: And What To Do If You're Stuck In A Not-So-Dreamy Job

I didn't know how I got so lucky as to have landed this “dream job” within a year of graduating from grad school.

Perhaps because of my perceived luck, my rose-colored glasses were a little more rosy than others’ might have been. When things started to happen that should have alerted me to the job’s wrong fit, I justified them. Hard.

In The Studio: February 2017

Usually, when I make art, it’s out of necessity. There’s something that needs to be said, and art is the only form of communication that will make it known. 

Art-making is a skill I’ve been developing my whole life, and it’s become another language for me. It’s more than a simple hobby… And it’s more than an avenue to hone my technical skill. My soul speaks through creative expression. My truest and clearest voice comes through in my art.

Quick Self Care: 10 Ways to Practice Self Care in 5 Minutes or Less

“I don’t have enough time to do self care.”

Sound familiar?

The following ten self care practices can be completed in five minutes or less, so both you and I can stop using lack of time as an excuse to neglect ourselves.

Self Care v Selfishness

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between self care and selfishness. When I work with people, I encourage them to take time for themselves - to find a consistent and effective self care practice. I’m usually met with resistance.

Most of the objections boil down to this myth: “If I take time for myself, I’m selfish.”

Selfish! The ever-avoided plague of a word (and a label).

Nobody wants to been seen or perceived as selfish. To be selfish means to care ONLY for oneself - to have no regard for the needs or experiences of others. A world full of selfish people, only serving themselves, is a miserable place.

So why I am advocating that people pay attention to their own needs first?

Because self-care and selfishness are not the same thing.

Selfishness is a parent feeding themselves, and neglecting to feed their child. Self care is a parent feeding themselves so that they have energy to feed and care for their child.

Selfishness is a business generating revenue, and neglecting to care for their employees, contractors, and customers. Self care is a business generating revenue to cover costs and earn a profit so that it can take care of its employees, contractors, and customers.

Selfishness is a tree who grows tall and fast, blocking out the sun for the rest of the forest. Self care is a tree who soaks up the sun, rain, and nutrients from the soil to grow as strong as it can for the health of the forest.

(I realize this last example of selfishness is a little ridiculous, because trees can’t be selfish. Selfishness doesn’t naturally occur in nature. It’s a human invention; one might argue, a Western invention… But that’s a tangent I won’t pursue today.)

When I encourage people to do things for themselves, to listen to their bodies, to stop ignoring their mental health, I’m not saying, only focus on these things. I’m saying, if you pay attention to and fulfill your own needs, everyone around you will be better off for it.

Because when we actually start paying attention to ourselves, and acknowledge all parts of ourselves - positive and negative - we start seeing ourselves in others. We start recognizing our interconnectedness. When we have compassion for ourselves, we can have compassion for each other. When we recognize and forgive our shadow parts, we can recognize and forgive the shadow parts of others.

Problems happen (see: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, climate change denial, abuse, etc.) when we deny parts of ourselves. When we don’t take the time to get to know ourselves enough, we push those unwanted parts of ourselves out into the world.

Self care is the opposite of selfishness. It’s going to the doctor to maintain our health for the people we love. It’s feeding ourselves things that nourish us so that our bodies can function the way they were meant to. It’s replenishing our energy so that we can go out into the world to do the work we love. It’s healing ourselves on a deep level so that we do no harm.