I also own and operate a small business called Mother Mary’s Toffee Company where we make and distribute my mother’s fifty-year-old toffee recipe. We have four crazy months out of the year where we sell lots and lots of toffee. During the slower periods, I decided to set aside Creative Mondays and while the kids were at school, I avoided the toffee shop, nor did I take phone calls. I experienced so much growth during that dedicated time. I completed a Brene Brown on-line workshop on Daring Greatly and journaled extensively, more intensely than I had ever journaled before. I read a passage in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and suddenly remembered that I used to have an on-going relationship with Creative Muses that guided me in my work. When I was younger I rejected them because I knew I was different. In my twenties, I wasn’t ready to embrace my true artistic self, even though it was my true life’s purpose. Since my family didn’t know what to make of me as an artsy kid, I heard those messages my whole life. As I stood on the cusp of my adult life, even though I had my Art School Education under my belt, I turned my back on my authentic self. I didn’t have the language or the insight to understand it, but I didn’t know how to nurture the artist in me. I was never taught how to nurture her. It pains me to say it, but I was taught to dislike and distrust her. I know it’s easy to blame parents for things like this but I want to state for the record that I know my parents did the best that they could. They are human beings with their short-comings and they really believed that steering me way from the artist life was actually protecting me from getting hurt. They viewed an artist’s life as desolate and impoverished. They saw the Starving Artist stereotype and nothing more. They didn’t want to see me struggle and what’s more, they didn’t think I could function because I was too emotional. Too sensitive. So I chose to believe the messages I had heard. I turned off the channel to the muses and tried to fit in as a regular-old person. Thus began an extended painful period in my life. When I re-dedicated myself to Creative Mondays, I slowly began to unearth the buried parts of me. Through re-discovered perspective, I apologized to the muses for my absence and re-acquainted myself with their ever-present magic. I affirmed that all I really had to do is tap into the never-ending creative flow that was there simply for the taking. And I began to paint again. Really paint. The ideas and the output were flowing out of me. My friend who knows about these things got a clear vision that I have a multitude of angels around me. Most notably, she saw Arch Angel Gabriel herself standing over me and protecting me. This was exciting news as I came to learn that Gabriel is the Arch Angel of creativity and communication. I was surprised and honored that such a high-ranking angel would be so close to me. I also took a leap and put out my work out into the world, showing it at markets and select festivals. The work was well-received and well-respected by viewers. I was the happiest that I have ever been but I still had the sense that there was more to do. I attended a vision board workshop where the facilitator said that her work of helping others become who they are is her love letter to God. I feel the same way about being a Creator. In that session we produced a mission statement as the first step in creating our board. The mission I penned went as follows:
To explore, implement, and inspire others in my whole-hearted creative life.
As is my usual practice, I was writing in my journal and I asked the following request of Angel Gabriel: “I pray to ArchAngel Gabriel for help and guidance in choosing what to do/knowing which path to take.” That evening I met some of my (more wild) girlfriends for drinks. Sal noticed the paint on my arm.
“You probably think I was painting something sexy today. The truth is, I was just painting the walls of my basement. The art classes I started for kids in the spring is expanding and I’ve taken on more students. I think it’s time to set up a cool studio space in the basement.”
I guess I had failed to mention to them that I was teaching small group classes in my home so they had lots of questions about my current configuration of classes: how many kids do I teach at a time? What is the age range?
But most notably, Leslie spoke up and asked, “Do you teach adults? I want art lessons too!”
Someone chimed in, “You can be one of those paint-your-own canvases places that does parties. Have you ever been to one?
In an instant, I began to cultivate an idea that took the paint-your-own experience to the next level.
“No.” I replied slowly. “It will be better than one of those places. We can do a party, but I can create a custom panel for each of you and I’ll show you how to paint it. You can paint it however you want!”
Happy Squealing ensued. And an idea was born.