When I was finishing high school (and holy crap can I say that having an 18 year old step-daughter who is making all the same choices I made at that age is eye-opening, in a horrifying kind of way) I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I knew I was going to university because my parents didn’t give me another option, which I am very grateful for.
But I didn’t know what to take.
I knew I wanted to be happy and feel free – like not lock in to doing one thing over and over for the rest of my life.
At that time I had not done any art, so I wasn’t thinking about anything creative like that. I thought I would go into journalism. It didn’t feel magical or anything but seemed like it offered some freedom.
I think I thought I’d be traveling around the world and just writing up articles whenever I felt like it.
And then – I don’t remember how or why it happened other than that my mother had sewn most of my clothes when I was growing up so sewing always seemed natural to me – I started to sew.
I remember getting a simple pattern and some cute floral fabric and making a spring dress and being totally hooked.
(I mean 25 years later I am still making myself cute dresses)
I think my creative life was calling to me through the only channel which was open at that time.
So I decided to go into fashion design.
The reality of working in the fashion industry is pretty far away from the joy I feel when making myself cute dresses so that career path did not pan out for me but it taught me everything I needed to know and got me onto the right path.
I believe that it got me onto my right path because I was following inspiration.
The thing I loved most about fashion was pattern design. The class I really excelled in was surface design. After graduating I really wanted to be a textile artist.
Secretly I wanted to be a pattern designer but I didn’t even let myself explore that because it seemed so impossible from where I was.
(And as I said in my blog post earlier this week – this seems so weird to me now, there are lots of things I could have done it was 100% my own self-doubt that stopped me from pursuing this)
I pursued my career as a textile artist which, in a 15 year long and winding story, led to me leading creativity workshops and healing/meditation circles which then led to me starting the Creative Dream Incubator.
In hindsight, one of the best things about my textile art career was that I failed at it so hard.
It was the pain of that failure that set me on the path to learning about how to really get your outer self/life into alignment with your inner truth, how to live your real life.
Because I felt that being an artist was being my true self – that’s why I didn’t want to give up and get a job. But it was a constant struggle.
I knew about affirmations, meditation and visualization and practiced devotedly but it didn’t help. I didn’t know that I was missing the biggest piece – I didn’t understand how healing and transformation actually work.
And that’s what I learned right there amongst the ashes of my failed art career – which quickly became compost to nurture my new creative life.
(I learned this in the context of spiritual healing – but I believe the principles are the same in other modalities.)
And, as an artist, as I was learning about how spiritual healing and transformation work of course I was combining this with the creative process.
The way I was taught was very dry and “head-y” so bringing colour and creativity in was my way of making it all both more grounded and real and more fun and sparkly.
Ultimately, for me the creative process and the spiritual process are the same thing. The creative process is focused on the thing you are creating and the spiritual process is focused on your own self.
You can try to control your art and make it fit into some kind of box and you may be good at that but you’ll still find there’s not a lot of magic in that in the long term.
Just like you can try to control your self and shove your life into some kind of box of what you think it’s supposed to look like. You absolutely have the power to do that – but you won’t find a lot of magic there.
(Sometimes we get caught in that with our dream work too – when we’re pursuing the dream we think we should want, instead of listening to our hearts about what our real dreams are – but as long as you stay in the process and keep showing up for your dreams the best you can, you’ll end up on the right path, just like I did with my fashion career.)
The real magic is in allowing things to grow and evolve into what they really are.
There is so much power in that. Which is kind of funny given how it comes out of a state of surrender.
So, twenty years ago I set out with this dream to be a textile artist.
And I ended up here.
My work now feels just like how I wanted my career as a textile artist to feel… creative and free and like I am living my real life.
And I still make art all the time, but it’s just to help me sort through my own inner process. I don’t focus on finishing pieces or developing creative ideas the way an artist does.
Though a few times over the past 6 years I have been inspired to make custom art for people (paper doll portraits and original art inspiration cards) and I have loved doing that.
And now the next thing is calling – making more art to share. It feels like starting a new career as an artist.
So the last time I felt called towards something new I was shifting through the ashes of my failed art career.
Now I’m working from a place of power, you know? The Creative Dream Incubator is going really well, the Creative Dream Circle is this beautiful thing that is nurturing dreams every day.
It all supports me in this new dream.
It actually feels now like I built myself the foundation I need to get back to that dream.
And it reminds that – always, always, more than anything – you can trust where you dream leads you.