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Do you ever get that feeling of ‘oh no. what did I just do?’ I’ve had that feeling a few times in my life when big decisions were made and there was no turning back. Even if I was happy with the decision it was the feeling of being forced to stay committed to something based on my own choices. I felt that way the day we signed the papers for our house. That was a big decision. I felt that way the morning I woke up after I got married. Hee hee. I felt that way when I took my first pregnancy test. No turning back now guys. So no use in worrying about whether it was a good or bad decision.
I also felt that way the first time I turned my torch on in my studio. I had previously been working in polymer clay and sold everything to fund the new glass lampwork studio. I was fully committed to glass in all of my beginner-ness. I was so excited. I had been renting torch time at Cave Creek Glassworks and decided I was ready to have a place where I didn’t have to pack up my supplies every time I worked.
The day came to light my torch and and aside from being terrified of it exploding because of the way I hooked up the gas and oxygen, I was giddy with anticipation. It lit just fine. The fire stayed where it was supposed to. Ventilation worked perfectly. Time to melt some glass. I made my first donut bead (I worked very tiny in those early days) and it didn’t work like I expected. I tried a few more and it wasn’t feeling as good as it was supposed to or as it had in the past. It was then that I had the distinct feeling that I had made a big mistake. I missed my polymer. What had I done?
I still get that feeling every once in a while. I have so much time and money invested into this thing they call glass lampwork. Some days (usually after a long day of production work) I wonder what would happen if I started to lose the desire to do it? What if someone moves my cheese? What would I do? What if one day the designs just stopped coming out of me and never returned? What would I do? I see people changing mediums and working into different areas like painting and precious metal clay and it scares me a little bit. It’s like breaking up with a boyfriend and having to start all over.
And then I tell myself to stop it and focus on what I’m doing. If that day were ever to come, I’d be ready for the change, right? Yikes.
Did you see the comment from Leisa on my Hot Head ramble a few days back? I agree with her when she says that a subtle change in perspective can really make a big difference. Leisa’s comment brought back a memory. Wanna hear it? It goes a little something like this…
While growing up I often felt defeated and discouraged. I would cry and complain, much like my own five year old does. My step-dad would tell me that he didn’t want to hear me say, ‘I can’t’ and would tell me that I could do anything to which I set my mind. He knew that I could do it, and he was probably the only person to tell me that and keep on me about it. Unfortunately for me, I really thought I couldn’t and no words were going to change that. I already had a firm perspective of what I could and couldn’t do.
Fast forward about 25 years (and a couple years of counseling in my twenties that combatted some pretty low self-esteem) and I still didn’t see it. Oh, I had big dreams of being successful and respected, blah blah blah, but I was stuck in my smallness. It’s not until I met my husband that I really started to believe that anything was possible. He was at the end of a yucky divorce, had lost everything (and I mean EVERYTHING). Oh wait, he got the car that was financed upside down. He was deep in debt from legal fees, and decided to start a computer consulting business.
I watched him work from his tiny, two room condo with his desk in the living room and papers everywhere. I listened to him on the phone talking with potential first customers like Motorola and Honeywell. I realized that the thought that something couldn’t be achieved had never entered this man’s head. It still doesn’t. Everything was possible. You just need to figure out how to make it possible. Brilliant!
I always thought (and would ask him), ‘how do you think you can pull that off if you actually get them as a customer?’ His answer? ‘I’ll figure that out when I get it.’ And he did. And he did. And he did. I’m amazed at what he’s done and how he’s grown his business.
Watching him, my perspective has changed. I have learned that anything is possible and more importantly, it doesn’t have to be done like the people who came before you. As they say, there are more ways than one to skin a cat…or something like that. Take a risk here and there. Especially in art…who is to say that something isn’t right or acceptable? It’s ART. Be yourself and convince people of who you are and what you do.
It’s not important who moved my cheese, since it wasn’t really a person who moved it. It is important to realize and accept that it has moved and it’s time to go back into the maze and find new cheese. What am I talking about? A book that I’ve thought about often, before even having read it: Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The title in itself is a mantra-of-a-sort for me. The book is an easy read…as in, I read it in about an hour or so. So simple. So true. I’ve been impressed with the message and I will never forget it.
It is basically about four characters, 2 of them being mice (Hem and Haw), who love cheese (insert anything that you love or want to succeed at for your cheese). They have an abundance of cheese and then one day realize that it has moved, and how they each deal with it. One refuses to acknowledge the change. One tries to figure out how to find new cheese and the process he goes through in venturing out into the maze to find new cheese. The other characters (Sniff and Scurry) have learned how to anticipate change and use it to their advantage.
What is your cheese? Work? A relationship? Etc.
My cheese, in this post, are auction customers. As you know, I had been focusing on shows until February and therefore haven’t been selling from the auction sites…which were once my main venue, along with my web site. Upon returning to auction after having been away for nine months I realized that someone moved my cheese and I don’t know if I have the energy to explore how to build it back up or if it can be built back up. Do I need to continue further into the maze to find new cheese or keep searching for my old cheese. I sense I need to move on.
Did that make sense? More on who moved MY cheese in the days to come. Would you like to watch me work through this process? Ah, reality blogging at its best. Watch me writhe in the struggle.