Wednesday, October 06, 2010

a long post on cultivating happiness & perfect protest!

I had the thought recently that i work very hard to be happy. How happiness does not always arrive when i wake up (i'm quite often a grumpy morning riser). It's a "wicked pissah" to use east coast jargon, when I have to wake up super early and don't have time to be sloooow, piddle and drink caffeine.

This thought occurred to me because I hope I put out there in the world my happiness. My paintings are happy (maybe some are dark or have a twinge of sadness too) and I use a lot of exclamation points sometimes to communicate excitement!!!! For those of you who don't know me personally or know my life story, you may think i'm super. happy. all. the. time! Not so. I consciously work at it. Not by denying the sh**t in life, but by looking at it and working to transform it and connect with others around it in a healing way.

I've been reading Brene's "Gifts of Imperfection" since I got it a couple of days ago. I've underlined the heck out of it! one of the things she wrote that spoke to me was the idea that we are " ...worthy now; right this minute. Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites."

These were some examples that spoke to me:
* I'll be worthy when I lose 20 lbs.
* I'll be worthy when I can make a living selling my art.
and this one really got me thinking...
* I'll be worthy when I can do it all and look like I'm not even trying.

Um, how many of us have had that thought? That the things that matter most to us, we often want them to look effortless and like the opportunities fell in our laps!

To be real... when I lose weight, it's because I've been diligently cutting back and exercising A LOT. Right now I'm enjoying food A LOT and exercising occasionally, and if I were to lose weight I would brush it off like it was no big deal, when it would mean 100's of hours of exercise and willpower devoted to it.

The 2nd example is HUGELY pertinent around feeling worthy for me: when I can make a living as an artist... and not just a meager living, but one where I have stability, savings and comfort and ABUNDANCE. I work so hard trying to make a living as an artist, and yet don't share here my horrifying to-do lists and energy spent making my art look EASY. Nope.

Not to mention the years of torment deciding to follow this path and believing I could, years building my portfolio, many thousands and thousands of dollars going back to art school and the years upon years of living rent check to rent check as an artist couple buying supplies and paying for a studio space to create. Oh my, I could go on, couldn't I? As all you artists know, it ain't easy, yet we may make it look like it is and perhaps that's a disservice. I obviously love making art and it is my passion, but it is absolutely not easy and has required a whole lot of sweat and tears and dedication. It's been totally worth it, but not easy!!

The other aspect of my life that I pretend is effortless is being happy. People, I have therapist(s), an acupuncturist, a creative coach, a supportive art agent, and a ton of creative support groups and friends that I regularly attend to keep me sane/happy and I work very hard being intentional and looking for happiness in all the ordinary spaces. Plus I have a regular practice of gratitude here and in my journals.

Recently I wrote a list of tragic things that I have experienced in my life (we all have them) and it filled a page and it was ugly. Then I remembered I have dozens of gratitude journals filled to the brim. Mixed in with sketches and venting, but I have so much gratitude for it all. All of it. I'm especially proud of the hard work it's taken on my path to be happy, healthy and whole.

here's a Perfect Protest pic of me and my AWESOME intern fanny (who um MET THE AVETT BROS this weekend!!). we realized after painting this giant canvas with our fave collective color turquoise, that oops, it's backwards in the iphoto :) alas... to imperfections!!! we are too busy writing backwards to be perfect!

we're too busy not being perfect

translation: we're too busy getting our paint on to be perfect and too busy having fun to be perfect!

(don't fanny and i look a little like sisters here?)

XOXO
Mati



28 comments:

Russty said...

This is such a great post! I often struggle with this as well. I feel like sometimes I'm missing out on happy moments by pushing myself to hard to be happy because of XY or Z. Rather then being happy right now with the wonderful family and life that I have.

I struggle every day with having an illness that often tries to steal my joy away. I have to remind myself that I am blessed and have a lot in my life and that I'm more then just my sickness. But it isn't easy, especially in the mornings when I'm very much a grump. haha

I love reading your blogs and tweets, because you come off as being human and authentic. You have a great attitude about life, but you aren't afraid to talk about real things as well. And sometimes we all have days when life just seems full of stress or SUCK. It's nice to know there are other artists out there working hard at the balancing act of it all.

Brené Brown said...

I love this so much! Your truth-telling inspires me to be braver. And more gentle with myself!

PS - You and Liz made me laugh so hard. I've been saying "wicked pissah" since I got back to Texas. No one even understands what I'm saying.

Lorrie said...

Mati, I love love love this post. It spoke to me. (right now, especially the lose weight part)

Thanks for putting it out there for us.

xxoo
Lorrie

Kate Courageous said...

Your truth telling also inspires me to be braver, especially around money. I started teaching part-time again this year and this was humbling for me and I confess the parts of me that want it to all be "perfect" of course say that I'm alone in this. ~ big love to you ~

Beth Nicholls said...

Love it that you are too busy having fun to be perfect. Oh yeah! What is perfection anyway?

Sandra said...

This is a beautiful post. I love being reminded, and I do need to be reminded, about how human we all are.

Lori said...

I just LOVE this post. It made me breathe a big sigh of relief at the realness of it all. Thanks for your honesty. You and fanny are totally beautiful!

andrea said...

oh mati. I love this post so much. xo

soraya nulliah said...

Dear Mati-I think we can all relate to much of this post...I mean...no-one's life is perfect yet it can appear that way from the outside. and yes...being an artist is a very difficult path in so many respects-totally worth it in my opinion but..a difficult path nonetheless. I think the more we give up the hopeless goal of perfection-the more energy we have to create a LIFE...whole, human, fragile, resilient, beautiful...

Cameron said...

I really, really, really love this post A LOT. Thanks so much for being so open and sharing so much and being so AUTHENTIC!! <3

Liz said...

Such a great post Mati... and I too have many marked up pages in Brené's book... inspired to let go of perfection, because I just no longer have time for that P word! xo

Anonymous said...

Dear Mati, i love your post and you are not alone.....it`s time to enjoy who you are

ute

kylee said...

oh man! this post is so right on and got me thinking about so many things. i have, all my life, found utter beauty in the imperfections in all things surrounding me, yet, at times i can't see that beauty in myself....and to hear that another struggles too ( even though you don't wish that on another ) makes you feel ok. it really does! it makes you feel like you are not alone. there's a deep breath you can take. thanks for sharing mati! and p.s - acupuncture! i have been wanting to try this for ever!

tiffany said...

Mati, this is beautiful! You are so brave for opening up like this, but I think that it's really helpful for all of us to hear that other people in this world have struggles!

I feel your happiness, girl! And I think we are sisters -- maybe just from another mister!

PS. Just ordered that book! Can't wait to read it -- sounds like we should ALL read it!

Jo Wholohan said...

loved reading this post mati, totally pulled me out of my little unhappy place today :)) xx

christine said...

Love this so much.
Thank you!!!!!!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Mati - Thanks for your thoughts and authenticity. It allows me to feel vulnerable. Blessings to you, Deborah

Monica said...

i've been reading the imperfect posts and this has to be one of my faves.

i love your raw honesty and sincerity. i love that you remind us artists that it takes work. i love that you choose to not deny your sh*tty moments and choose to transform them.

and you two do look like sisters there.

emily said...

this post is beautiful. it's so true, but i couldn't have articulated it before i read your words here - that happiness is something that i try to choose everyday. that there are goods and bads for all of us, and that the goods and the bads all blend together into the soup of our lives. but everyday we get the chance to choose happiness. and i try to do that. thank you for articulating it so beautifully.

Meghan said...

I so love this post!! I resonate with just about every single word. I'm working on my own bravery to dismiss the perfection demons and embrace my creativity. xo

Katherine said...

I am sooo totally in love with Brene's call to protest...and LOVE LOVE LOVE what you've shared here.

For some reason, I think we're all under the guise that the guy/girl next to us has it all "figured out" and somehow they found the "secret" to doing it all perfectly while we're scrambling to figure it out ourselves.

Thanks for sharing your struggles, fears, actions, and determination--it helps the rest of us understand that nobody has it truly figured out!

BRAVO!

~Valentina~ said...

*LOVE*LOVE* this post! Thank you so much for sharing. You're super inspiring :)

sperlygirl said...

loved the post, mati. omg, i am picking up that book. i was completely nodding along and that last point really hit home - hard. thank you for sharing, for being real, and beautifully, wonderfully, inspiringly (yes, i did make up that word!) imperfect. xoxo s

jessica said...

great post, mati!! xoxox j

emcee said...

thank you so much for being so honest and raw - it made my day Mati!!

kelly rae said...

i love everything about this post, mati.
xxo

Steffi said...

I loved reading this so much! Thank you for sharing! I feel I could have written a post very similar to yours and though my artist self is only slowly emerging into this world it has already been an intense roller-coaster with loads of tears, I'd-rather-kill-myselfs and I'd-rather-become-a-lawyer/bookseller/cleaner/mole but also so much happiness and deep deep feelings and fulfillment.

Plus, I recently realized I've been to see 9 different therapists/coaches/counselors in the last 7 years, which I love (the opportunity, the people) but which also made me realize how hard I work on being whole and happy.

Thanks again for this awesome post and pic and for giving me a space to share! :)

leigh said...

ok, totally love this post...AND totally thought that both of those people were you.. like a photoshop experience or something... you two look so much alike here!xoxo