NEW JOURNEY: The Eighth Step

Sometimes the hardest thing to do, is to do nothing.

Many of you have sent some gentle nudges my way. “You haven’t said much lately–what’s up?” “Is everything okay?” “Are you still dealing with crap?”

Short answer: Yes, I’m still dealing with crap. Mine.

I’m nearing the end of my hospice training. One more class, and that’s it. It’s been informative, exhilarating, intriguing.

And I still have no idea where to go from here.

I didn’t really expect to have a huge spiritual/emotional/professional/personal breakthrough, the answer to all my questions, at this point. But yes, I confess I had a sneaking little hope I might….

So I’ve been down. And embarrassed about it. Too embarrassed to even post about it.

Two things happened in the last day or so. I spent an evening with a dear friend, who simply listened. And I ran across another great article by Christine Kane on Why Your Ego Loves Airline Delays.

I wailed to my friend that I thought I’d have something figured out by now. Maybe not a new career plan, but at least a moment of clarity. Why can’t I get a head of steam going here?? Why can’t I get some traction on any of my projects?? What’s wrong with me, anyway?!?

Carol, bless her heart, reminded me that I still look like a success: My big retail show coming up with lovely new work, my magazine column for The Crafts Report, my new shop on Amazon’s 1000 Markets my blog. (BTW, she loves all the comments you readers leave, too!)

She also said I was an inspiration to her, professionally and personally. She says she sees me constantly, unrelentingly, trying to figure this stuff out. And she thinks I’m being too hard on myself.

“You’re already forming new plans and strategies,” she pointed out. “You took the setbacks and obstacles created by a few of your peers at your professional craft organization and overcame them. You have beautiful new work, and a beautiful new story behind it. You’re looking for ways to generate more reliable income for your family and your biz. You’re determined to follow through on your volunteer commitment to hospice, even though it’s terrifying you. You’re learning to set boundaries with groups and individuals in your personal and professional life, even when it’s tough. You’re doing the hard work. And you’re sharing that openly and honestly with your audience. Where…is the failure in that??!”

With a friend like Carol, I could move mountains–at least the little ones in my heart.

The Christine Kane article reminds me that what’s grousing here is my ego. The part of me that wants to figure this stuff out right now, the part that’s impatient with how slow and painful the process can be. It’s the part that wants to control and manage my life.

My ego has to accept the the parts of life I can’t control and manage… It–I–must learn to give in sometimes, so that love, and peace, and courage–yes, and faith–can come inside, and stay.

So today I’ve worked hard on my application for a little job at our local college. It looks like it’s within my skill set, and would leave me time to still make art, and write. I’m trying to face my next big retail show with peace in my heart (and nice new work) instead of anger and resentment towards those few who would like to see me fail. I’m taking it one day at a time, one thing at a time, and I’m trying not to fuss and worry.

And trying to eliminate a few of the “I” sentences that seem to predominate my life lately.

My mantra for this week: Slow down. Be patient. Listen. Forgive others. Forgive myself. Believe. Love. Breathe.


Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

16 thoughts on “NEW JOURNEY: The Eighth Step”

  1. Hey Luann…. I am so wishing to get to NH this year but there are always conflicts. But maybe! I am dying to see this year’s work, and go home with some more. But what I’m writing here is a response to your post above, and it is to say, Who is wishing to see you fail? Just point them out and me and my handy-dandy potato fork will take care of them !! oxo


  2. Oh, Elizabeth, so we shall know my enemies by their little poked hole marks? LOVE IT!!!

    And ArtShades, I concur! Fortunately, Carol loves red wine as much as I do… :^)


  3. Yes! Although I was thinking more to rake them into a pile and put them out with the compost. It is fun to rake all the weeds and muck and get them out of the way. But, yes, it is pointy so they’d probably get a few holes along the way. >;)


  4. To me you’re a success because you’re always stretching yourself and trying to reach that new level. You’re not content with the status quo. Growth takes time and there’s always something in the way. It sounds like you’re just anxious to get there.


  5. Luann,
    I agree with alot of what Carol had to say. Lighten up on yourself!! Have some fun along the way! What I enjoy so much about your blog/writing is that you are always completely honest with yourself and us your readers. You are helpful, intelligent, articulate, amusing, enlightened, heck the list goes on. None of us is ever going to have all the answers that we would like, isn’t that the point of the journey?? Thanks for your insights!


  6. Whew! That’s a lot to take in, and a lot to let out! Good for you. I totally (I mean TOTALLY) understand! I am at a similar place in my life (well not a successful artist YET). I really get it. Oh, and don’t you just A-D-O-R-E Christine Kane??? I love her!

    Hugs hugs,


  7. Hi Luann,

    Your friend Carol sounds like a real treasure.

    As I read this I thought, Luann, you are stepping outside of your comfort zone and that means you are growing. It’s obvious from your writing…at least to me…that is part of what’s happening. And you are still going for it, so that definitely means hats off to you and congrats for doing what most people won’t do. You are overcoming fear and moving forward. Cheers!


  8. The life cycle of – work, trends, enthusiasms. They’re born, flower, and – hard words – die out. It’s not because you failed, it happens. And those passions aren’t always replaced by identically inspired, sweeping work. I think over time the inspiration is somewhat replaced by more methodical, deliberate, but no less valuable ideas and methods. There will always be problems to work on for artists, but one may feel the loss of the sense of excitement of discovery. Egad, it’s to do with age and experience! But you wouldn’t want to be without those. And still care about beauty and meaning and communicating those.

    Rambling on . . .


  9. Luann,
    thank you for sharing this! Isn’t it amazing how those closest to us can come right in and say just the right thing, the right thing that will calm the screaming voices within our own minds and souls and allow us to listen to the small, little voice that has been trying so hard to be heard, amidst all the unknowing? Whether friends or spouses or family, these souls are our clarity and reason – and often enough, our wise guides. Enjoy more conversations with your friend, even if they include tears 🙂


  10. Luann,
    All of this is so big! I am going through many of the same personal changes (I hate to say crises!). I, too, was struggling so much with the challenge of making income from my handweaving and art in this economy. I have taken a part time job teaching sewing at a private boarding school. The relief afforded from having the dependable income, small though it is, is huge! I can breathe around my art again! Good luck with the job application!


  11. Hey, as always you rock!

    And as a friend and a sometimes therapist, here’s a little clinical advice – quit overthinking it! You are an inspirational, talented, insightful, cool chick. Just say no to that brain!


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