Home » thoughts and words » Comfort zones & creating.

Comfort zones & creating.

This isn’t directly related to art, but it spills over into “one of those life things” that is applicable to creating. And I think that’s important.

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This weekend I took on a challenge: dog-sitting. Here’s what you should know: I’m not a dog person, despite the fact that I have a little dog (he’s not just mine- he’s a family dog, and I do love him). I’ve actually been terrified of dogs my entire life. I have a childhood history of climbing on high surfaces to get away from them. I was chased through a park by one when I was little. I hid in trees one time when a dog was loose and I refused to come out because I was so scared. I am easily reduced to tears when I’m around big ones, even now. So over the years, I have had to get more used to dogs. But I’ve never felt comfortable. A friend (whom I know) of one of my babysitting moms is pregnant and we talked about me being her nanny. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in dog sitting this weekend. A big black lab. My instinct said no, but then I thought about how much I would love to be the nanny to her on-the-way baby boy, and I knew the dog would be around while I was watching the baby. So I met the dog, and I said yes to this challenge. I’m a very nurturing person, so I had no doubt I could meet his needs for a weekend.

The dog is very sweet and still playful like a puppy, but very well-trained, so I felt okay with the idea of watching him. I was really nervous though. But I know it’s important to face fears and take on new challenges and step outside your comfort zone. It took about 2 full days with him to develop a nice rhythm and not feel a little on edge when he came running up to me. I like him. He’s more familiar to me now, and familiarity always makes things less scary. I can relax now when I’m with him. I feel so much more comfortable. I’m sitting here writing this now with him laying next to me.

So here’s the lesson: Leaving your comfort zone is so hard. But I force myself to do it all the time because I know that I always grow from it. I pushed myself. I worked through the discomfort. And that awkward adjustment is so hard, but it leads to create a new comfort zone. And you feel yourself amazed at your capability to adapt to something you would have thought impossible.

As I grow my art and my business, I have to remember this. It’s all so new and scary, especially in the first year of business. But the more I meet a challenge head-on (like a true Aries), the more capable I feel. I’m starting to love that word- capable. It goes right along with confidence. When you know you’re capable of accepting challenges and overcoming them, the fear and the nervousness goes away. And then you meet a new challenge. This is a pattern, and I know that I grow the most when I tackle something I’m (usually irrationally) scared of. I’m usually scared because it’s unfamiliar territory. But you brave it anyway (I don’t know how I summon that courage- I just take a deep breath and it comes from somewhere deep inside me). And the uncharted territory becomes familiar and comfortable and you can breathe without reminding yourself to breathe. (as I write this, I’m thinking “wow, I really am SUCH an Aries. All about pioneering and diving headfirst”).

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about the past few days and I thought it verbalized a lot of what you deal with as an artist: doing something differently than anyone else, even other artists.

So much upcoming art to share with you!

-In a few days you’ll see my Valentine’s Day cards! I really love how they turned out. They’re simple and sweet, and I think there’s something for everyone.

-As soon as I release those, I’m starting work on a design for a longtime friend of mine who is releasing an EP of her music! She wants a design that can go on a t-shirt for her release party, and I’m so excited to design it! Not only is it flattering to be asked, I actually love music-inspired design. Before I imagined up Mary & Luna, I wanted to do album artwork for musicians. So this will be fun!

-In early February I’ll have a new print for sale too! I’ve had the outline of the design for a while, but I’m going to turn it into something else than I originally intended :)

xo, Michelle

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