The feelings I create out of fiber typically take me anywhere from four to six weeks to create, but in recent months, I was pushing myself to make more, sew faster, produce, produce, produce.
That “drive” took all the fun out of it.
I want to be intentional about the time I spend creating my art, including when I share it with you so today I’m sharing update photos from my latest Feeling in Progress: Depression.
Feeling in Progress…
Slow and steady…
I’m a big fan of ease. “Type A” does not describe me. Slow, steady art making soothes me and, with my Feelings work, is a critical part of the process.
When I’m creating feelings out of fiber, I’m exploring how the feeling feels within me. I give myself the opportunity to observe the feeling – where it sits in my body, where it sits in my heart and head, what thoughts it produces, and what lessons it has to offer. Rushing the creative process short circuits the learning and discovery process, which I believe is critical to personal growth and development.
Our feelings offer lessons for us to learn. Only by feeling them, observing them, and opening ourselves to receive the lessons can we transform ourselves into the people we’re meant to be.
Exit through the gift shop…
I hope you’ve enjoyed these few update photos from my latest feeling in progress, Depression. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to share my art.
If you’re curious about learning more about the lessons feelings offer you, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up time to chat.
When your feelings feel out of control, swamping you with emotion, particularly when it’s a feeling that keeps coming back over and over, it’s natural to feel completely overwhelmed with zero motivation. But there’s hope. When you allow yourself to learn what your less positive feelings are trying to teach you, you can get your motivation back.
Here are my three suggested steps to learn from your feelings.
Let go to break free…
When you’re buried under the weight of an overwhelming and recurring feeling like depression*, anger, resentment, or shame, there’s always a part of you that’s worrying about how to break free so you can just stop feeling shitty all the time. You get bogged down in thoughts of what you could do differently, which creates a cycle with the feeling, putting you on a merry-go-round that never stops.
This sensation you’ve got to control how you feel in order to make it stop is why you’re staying stuck.
Let go. Let yourself feel what you feel in all its pain and darkness. Give yourself permission to express your feelings and then express them. As you do, set some parameters so you don’t wallow forever. Give yourself an hour, a day, or a week – you’ll know how much time you need – and when the time is up, move on to the next suggestion.
Step back and observe…
After you’ve given yourself the gift of feeling what you feel, the next step is to step back and observe. This is where you get to pretend to be outside yourself, looking in.
The key here is to question your feelings. You want to inquire why you feel what you feel.
What triggered the emotion? Why was that the feeling that rose up? When have you felt that feeling in the past? What caused those occurrences? Is there a common link between what you feel now and what you’ve felt in the past? What is it?
Continue to question your feelings until there’s a sensation of release, a moment when it becomes clear why you keep feeling this particular feeling.
You can do this in a number of ways. You can journal, take voice notes, film yourself talking it out, spend time in contemplation via meditation, create the feeling as a tangible object (like I do when I create feelings out of fiber), or work with a coach like me who can help you dig deeper than you may be able to go on your own.
Find the lesson…
As you allow yourself the grace of observation, you’ll find yourself writing, speaking, or creating a record of the feeling and its root.
The “why” will appear and it will reveal the reason you default to depression*, anger, resentment, shame, or some other feeling that isn’t serving you. It will point to a moment from your past when an event happened or words were said that attached to your heart.
This moment may be major or it may be something that seemed inconsequential at the time. This moment is the key. Once you understand the moment that serves as the root, you have found the lesson and can begin the work to learn what it has to teach you.
Short is dumpy…
I have a moment that has served to make me feel motivated and encouraged AND defeated and depressed. A single moment can work to make you feel positive emotion at one point and negative at another. Each time a feeling arises, there may be a new lesson to learn. I used the steps I’ve outlined above to learn what this particular moment needed to teach me.
When I was a pre-teen, my grandmother said something that etched itself into my heart. She was short and had grown rounder with age, post-menopause. I too was short and it was clear I wasn’t going to be a tall adult. So she said to me, “Short is dumpy.” I took it as a warning to watch out as I grew older, delivered with love in the hopes she could prevent me from sharing her fate.
For years, that statement, that moment, worked as motivation and encouragement for staying slender, a short person with a slim frame. Whenever I was tempted to overeat or to make crappy food choices, I would say “short is dumpy” to myself and it worked as weight control.
And then I became post menopausal. Suddenly, no matter what I ate, how much, how little, the type of food, didn’t seem to matter. I’d become dumpy. Every time my pants felt a bit too tight, I felt more defeated and depressed. This spilled over into my work and into my art.
I was ready to change my feelings around my body. I decided to feel the defeat, observe the feeling, and find the lesson. When I did, I found that moment when my grandma warned me of the changes that occur as we age.
And the lesson I needed to learn was to re-frame the statement.
Now I tell myself “short is beautiful” and I am.
Exit through the gift shop…
When you can follow the steps I’ve shared here, you can learn what your feelings are trying to teach you. Start by letting go to break free. Next, step back and observe by questioning the feeling to understand its purpose in being there. Finally, find the lesson the feeling carries so you can begin to learn from it.
*Depression is tricky. For some of us, we can manage it on our own and it never grows so severe we’re at risk of self-harm. However, for many others, help is needed to manage depression. If this is you, please do get the professional help you need. The world is better with you in it.
How often do you find yourself in conflict with what you feel?
Maybe you feel depressed and you don’t want to, but can’t seem to pull yourself out of the pit. Maybe you get angry at the tiniest things and you know you’re being irrational but keep snapping at your kids, your partner, your co-workers all the time.
Those feelings are trying to teach you something. Until you learn to trust them, you’re going to stay stuck right where you are, being a person you don’t want to be.
What would it look like…
What would it look like if you trusted your feelings instead of trying to shove them out the door as soon as they show up? If you’ve learned to trust the more positive emotions, like love, you can learn to trust the more negative ones too. Both sides of the emotional coin have the power to change your life.
The first step is to trust what you feel. Let me share an example from my corporate lifetime.
During my early years in Aviation Construction Management, the primary focus of my day to day work was with numbers. I created spreadsheets and pie charts and plugged formulas into cells to audit and verify invoices and calculate percentages.
I didn’t consider myself a “numbers” person, so I. Was. Terrified.
I felt anxious and on edge all the time, convinced my manager would discover “math” was my least developed skill and he’d have to let me go.
Every day, I woke up certain today was the day my job would end. This caused me to be irritable and tense, which wasn’t like me at all. And that’s when I knew I needed to take a step back and examine why I felt the way I did.
It was true math hadn’t been my strongest subject during high school and college. I didn’t fully trust my abilities in that area which had caused the anxiety. However, the anxiety served a purpose – it pushed me to hone those math skills. I was so nervous I’d be “found out” as bad at math, I made it a point to learn how to use the accounting software better than anyone else on the team!
I learned to trust the anxiety and used it as a catalyst to learn. As a result, I became a highly valued and trusted member of the team. I became the person others turned to when they needed support. I received recognition for doing my job and doing it well, which led to advancement opportunities that exposed me to greater and greater challenges.
And when those new challenges arose, I trusted any anxiety that came along with them, and used it again as a catalyst to learn.
Exit through the gift shop…
You too can use your feelings as a catalyst to learn. The first step is learning to trust what you feel.
This first step is critical to your personal development. Without it, you’re always questioning your next step, at the mercy of your emotions. You absolutely need to feel whatever it is you feel but you don’t have to let those feelings turn you into someone you don’t want to be.
Learning to trust your feelings is key to changing your life.
If you need some support around learning to trust your feelings so you can become the person you’re supposed to be, drop me a note at email@example.com and we’ll set up time to chat.
We’re living in a time where the whole world feels uncomfortable, like putting on real pants after six months of work at home during a pandemic uncomfortable. However, just as wearing pants is important for preventing a public indecency charge, so is embracing your feeling of discomfort, regardless of what triggered it.
Feelings provide lessons for us to learn. I believe this with my whole heart, which is why I create feelings out of fiber and talk so much about the importance of detaching from the feeling to observe what it has to teach you. Embracing the uncomfortable offers you the opportunity to learn, if you’re willing to face it.
When you feel uncomfortable, maybe trapped in a job you don’t like, lonely after all these months of forced isolation in your home due to COVID, or just from the simple act of wearing a mask, it’s natural to wish someone would come along and, if not straight up rescue you, at least put an end to all the nonsense. Unfortunately, it’s rare for discomfort to magically disappear.
Even if you should be so lucky for it to go *poof*, if you haven’t taken a good, long look at what the uncomfortable feeling is trying to teach you before it goes away, you’re setting yourself up for increased discomfort in the future when something that reminds you of where you are now triggers its return.
Embracing the discomfort…
I spent a good portion of my corporate career feeling uncomfortable because I had a fair amount of imposter syndrome. That discomfort became such a part of me, it began to feel normal. In fact, I got to the point where I thought feeling uncomfortable was a natural by-product of being an adult.
And then, one day, things changed. I don’t recall what did it, but I realized I didn’t have to feel uncomfortable and could instead embrace the discomfort and learn from it. As a result, I returned to making my art after many years away from the sewing machine, eventually finding my voice with my Feelings work. This provided a much needed release from the pressures of corporate work, and I found myself happier for it.
The lesson my uncomfortable feeling was delivering was a push to express my innate creativity, which I couldn’t really do in my day job. Creativity is a huge value for me and the suppression of that value is what had ultimately created such discomfort.
Your discomfort is trying to get your attention too. The lesson it carries is as unique as you are. It may be a push to change, a mirror to reflect, a reminder to return to your values. The longer you continue to ignore how uncomfortable you feel, or conversely, just bitch about it, the more difficult it becomes to discover what feeling uncomfortable is trying to teach you. Failing to embrace the pain hurts more than facing it head on.
So I challenge you to embrace feeling uncomfortable. Sit with the feeling to examine it. Ask the feeling what it wants you to learn. I promise you there will be an answer.
Exit through the gift shop…
Embracing feeling uncomfortable is important, regardless of what triggered the feeling in you. Every feeling has something to teach you and the longer you ignore that lesson, the more difficult it is to learn. So sit with the feeling. Speak to it. And most importantly, listen for the answer.
If you need some support around embracing feeling uncomfortable, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up time to chat.
New work! I completed (Feeling) Enlightened recently so today’s post will be short and sweet to focus on the photos.
(As I always do, I’ve written a poem that goes with this piece. To read it, please visit my poetry website – www.piningforpoetry.com.)
I promised to keep the words brief but do want to share this. I chose to create Enlightened to help the viewer understand enlightenment isn’t something you need to struggle to achieve.
Moments of enlightenment happen all the time. Every time you have an AHA! moment, you’re enlightened. Every time you look up at the clock to discover hours have passed, you’ve been in a state of enlightenment.
Feeling enlightened is feeling those bright sparks of genius we all experience. It’s a lightness of being that comes from the heart to suspend you outside time and space as you watch the answers appear with ease.
I just want you to know you don’t have to chase enlightenment. It’s already inside you. All you need to do to feel it is pay attention.
Exit through the gift shop…
Enlightened is available for purchase for $2500 and would look fantastic on the wall of your home or office (or home office 🙂 ) or in your meditation space. If you’d like to own this piece, you have two options: