Blooming Outside the Cave
My own life has been one where I was pretty much left to my own devices from an early age. I learned early how to embrace, or at least tolerate, change. I realized that missteps are inevitable along the paths of life, and success is measured by joy, gratitude, and personal growth awareness along with an intriguing quest for new experiences, even in the most mundane or oppressive situations.
What has always been lacking for me is a sense of accomplishment and worth, but heck I see that is a common trait among artists. We are our own most rigid critics. I now take comfort in that my lack is also my motivation to continue toward personal goals and to look back and acknowledge the path I mastered no matter where it seemed to have ended.
One would think that by now, my 72 years would have mellowed me; made me more immune to call for a challenge, a purpose, an adventure, but no. "Relax more." is a suggestion I often hear, read or am prescribed. My inner response is, "I have millions of years ahead to relax".
This month of May, as soon as the weather changed and crocus popped through the surface, I also poked my head out of the "cave" and saw a plethora of adventurous opportunities where I could volunteer, teach, learn, be trained, and more. Not only did I substitute (one day 44 kindergartners - returned to the cave and slept the following two days), but also joined the Family Fishing Event, facilitated an educational salmon activity at the Home and Garden Show, Encouraged visitors to join me at the Clark PUD Stream Stewards Stream Table - Earth Day celebration, joined committee meetings, designed a blog presentation for the Colored Pencil Society of Portland, Oregon, added my work to the the Southwest Washington Spring Art Show (my first time to show my work), Coordinated a successful colored pencil workshop for the SOAR program, bridged a collaboration between Columbia Springs, a local environmental education site, and local artists, made time for gal pals to eat, laugh and play along the Steigerwald Lake Trail and spent an entire evening visiting with my youngest son (the best event of all).
Now I find myself, the one and only candidate nominee to the position of 1st Vice President of the Southwest Washington Artists Society; in charge of the succeeding spring art shows.
Not to be stopped yet, two days ago, I learned by phone that I have an interview to teach acrylic classes to mature adults at the local community college where I spent 8 years of my professional life as an adjunct professor in the Business Technology department while teaching k-8 during the day.
If your head is spinning right now, so is mine. Thursday is my interview. Today is Sunday. My preparation tasks include: complete an application packet that includes professional history, a prospectus with the syllabus, an artist statement about myself (considerably shorter than this), and a portfolio of my work for the interview. 3 days to prepare! 4th is the interview. Each piece is likening to a day ascending Mt. Everest in my own mind.
But as a youngster and beyond, I was taught to be a performer as well as an explorer, adventurer, educator, and purposeful member of society. I can navigate the rush, the pressure.