Spring has sprung in Wyoming! This edited shot is from enjoying some sunshine & target practice the other day:)
It feels rather strange to be on this journey in pursuit of new dreams - to be honest, it was never my desire to advertise myself or my thoughts in this way for my business, & at times has felt very unnatural. When I was a kid, people would sometimes ask if I wanted to be a famous artist when I grew up and my feeling was typically "Meh, not really!"😅 Whenever I'd play the board game "Life™", fame was always my lowest priority. I never even saw myself doing art as a career, & kind of just assumed I'd find a normal long-term job & do art as a hobby forever. While some people fantasize about the kind of recognition that often comes with online success, it's just never truly been something I've cared much about! As I've matured further into adulthood & observed the toxicity of our obsession with social media, there's been a rising desire to melt away into the wilderness & leave it all behind... Especially after the pandemic, when in isolation I could feel the addiction closing in along with the constant comparison of myself & life to what I'd see online. I resented how it made me feel, and spent so long building up this negative perception of all the shallow, manufactured content & "influencers" out there, that it's been difficult to fully let go of it all in order to adapt to this new vision for my future.
But in the months since I started this business, a lot has changed. While at times I still struggle with some of those negative feelings about social media, more often than not I find reasons to feel grateful & inspired - and that positivity outweighs old concerns. For instance, I feel so blessed to have connected with so many other incredible souls on similar journeys! Exchanging tips & tricks, or simply commiserating over our shared experiences on the emotional roller coaster of starting an online business- it's truly been a saving grace. And not just other creators...I have been so very moved by some of my virtual exchanges with friends old & new, acquaintances, even strangers! Simply connecting with other humans & exchanging loving words & energy holds so much power, even if through a screen. And while I still hold in-person interactions in higher regard, it continually amazes me that we have these opportunities for connection today that would never have been possible before the digital age. We can fantasize about "the good old days" before the technological takeover all we like, but I think as with most things in life, it's all a matter of perception❤️ For the past two years I perceived the modern world as a burning circus, & social media as a largely soulless place fueled by bots, hatred, & emptiness- and that was my experience because it was all that I saw. But once I expanded my perception to see a broader picture...I began finding more reasons for hope, even in the stark face of a pessimist's "reality" (and what is "reality," but what you make of it?)
Yes- there is an abundance of fake contrived nonsense, divisive hateful rhetoric, subversive propaganda & more out there in the metaverse. But there is also an abundance of beautiful, genuine, educational, and inspiring content to be found! Much like the world & life, really. Plenty of a**holes & endless suffering, but we find hope nonetheless because how precious are those moments of beauty, creation, kindness, and love? Such is the duality of existence ☯️ To acknowledge the whole for what it is, but to choose to focus on what lights us up inside, & gives us hope to go on. I've been through so many depressive episodes fixating on hurts of the past, anxieties for the future- or the many, many things which are wrong with the world- and it zaps the will to live. Of course it's not always as simple as just pulling yourself out of that state, but I think it starts with remembering that you always have a choice. Even when it feels like you don't; you can choose not to be a victim of circumstance... I try to remind myself every day that no matter what obstacles I face, or what feelings I feel- such things may not always be within my control, BUT- I always have a choice of how to perceive them! And in that instant of recognizing this truth, I am grateful🙏 Reprogramming one's brain is no minor task, but we are so blessed to have virtually infinite resources, inspirations & connections at our fingertips. And when we feast our senses on things that confirm this notion- I believe the Universe responds in kind💗 It presents us with more reasons to be grateful, and the cycle compounds✨ On the flipside if you're, say- listening to the news too often, or surrounded by people/consume content that instigates emotions which boil down to fear/negative feelings etc, you're going to attract the very things you dread or despise. This is the nature of the Universe, and/or the human mind (are they not one & the same?). The placebo effect exists for a reason, and I think serves as proof that no matter what situation you are born into or find yourself in, you possess a force stronger than any circumstance and that is belief!
"One thing is certain: That is that the power of belief, the power of thought, will move reality in the direction of what we believe and conceive of it. If you really believe you can do something, you can. That is a fact." - Daisaku Ikeda
...got a bit off-track there😅 If you can't tell, I've been consuming a lot of self-help books & lectures lately! (I used to hate self-help in my adolescence, but as an adult have really been drawn to it) In a nutshell this post was meant to address my transition toward the very influencer-type figure I never thought I'd be, & I was going to write about the minor identity crisis that posting Instagram reels & Tiktoks of myself has brought on this week. I was going to go on about how I'd been cultivating this hope that I could make it happen with just my art alone, leave my personality out of it, & whine about "must I parade around a facade in order to make this sh*t happen already??" But honestly...I don't really know that I feel that way anymore! Emotions are funny that way😅 so consuming in one moment, gone in the next with a little impassioned introspection!😆 Or whatever it is that helps you process. In any case, I'm working on making peace with my past perceptions of "influencers" & social media, and decisively plowing forward on this path to discover how to be my most authentic self (figure out who that is) & make money doing it too- because for once I'm finally starting to truly believe it's possible!! (Somehow I've known that it's possible, since I've long known that people really do it- but it's just taken me a very roundabout journey to internalize.)
I'll cut this post short but if you're reading this, I hope something here resonated with you! Conversation is always welcome if you're so inclined❤️ I can't remember many of the specific titles of things I've been reading/watching lately but here's one below that helped me through a bad spell. I love most AfterSkool videos & the animations always inspire me. Alan Watts' lectures are another favorite, but there are literally so many encouraging & inspiring pieces of media out there to absorb & be grateful for!! If you have any suggestions of books, lectures, inspiring quotes- anything really! I'd love to hear them😊 Thanks for popping in! Sending love & appreciation, wherever you are, & strength toward your own personal journeys💕