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staying true to authenticity

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

why is it so hard to stay true to our authentic self?

i go through phases of feeling extremely grounded, content, authentic, and true to myself. then i somehow slip out of that and feel all over the place. not grounded, not being true to myself, and not feeling content. i am constantly evolving and learning and growing and working on staying in that sweet spot that feels so good and true.

yesterday i had such a meaningful and interesting conversation with my friend Leslie. first of all it was SO refreshing to have a real conversation with my friend. (as opposed to texting, messaging on social media, etc...) we had a real life conversation on the phone.... remember back when??? when that was the way to communicate unless in person? we talked about so many things but it all came down to and back around to being true to ourselves.... going within - being authentic. as an artist- but also in general. synchronicity was in play, as we were messaging back and forth on instagram but i decided to pick up the phone and call and we ended up talking for an hour or so- both needing to express what we were mutually feeling. it was one of those conversations that you keep thinking about long after the call is over.... full of cathartic and ah ha moments. i picked up my journal and wrote page after page reflecting on our conversation after we hung up.

social media has become a problem for me. i dropped facebook a while ago and felt a huge weight disappear. no matter how i managed my time on FB i always felt drained after being on the platform. i felt frustrated by comments, compared what i was doing with what others were doing and just generally not so great. i asked myself the question one day, "am i finding joy here?" NO was the answer. instagram was a different beast - friendlier - easy to use, and just look at photos- easy to stay in touch with people - and this is a tool that i "need" to share my art with people and to share the work i do with my non- profit and farmed animal sanctuaries. i "needed" to be on instagram. lately i have been rethinking social media- i've been feeling to dependent on it. (shall we say addicted)? covid has made everything different. i find myself completely content to be out in the middle of nowhere with my family most of the time. other times i crave community and friendships and conversations and smiles and meetings with friends so much i can hardly take it. so much has changed. this is where instagram has come in handy. i have felt more connected and have been able to communicate with people there. HOWEVER, sometimes it feels hugely unreal. i am engaging with a lot of people that i don't really know. i'm looking at other artists thinking, hmmmm.... i should up my game. i need to paint more..... i need to start an online store...... blah blah blah. much to my dismay, there is the comparison piece. (i prided myself on not doing that- but i do....) i scroll and am so happy to keep up with my real life friends, but am also way to immersed in the minutia of it all. i've been feeling a void that is actually exacerbated by social media. it's in fact doing the opposite of what i really want/need. i'm side tracked. i'm spending time doing something that isn't really fulfilling, i'm yearning for REAL interaction and i'm not finding it there. instagram is draining.

{a few tips for taking a break from Instagram. (or other)

*move the instagram icon to another spot on your device. you (we) have become accustomed to pushing the button when opening the phone. moving it will remind you that you are taking a break.

*leave your phone on a desk or table with the ringer turned on so you know if someone is calling. keeping it with you everywhere you go will make it too tempting to check social media.

*when you are tempted to check instagram (or other) think about something to do instead.... grab your journal and a pencil, pick up a book to look at or read, go outside for a deep breath or a walk, sit on a meditation mat...move your body, dance, yoga..... whatever it is, try to do that instead of looking at your social media. it won't take long for the habit of checking the phone to disappear or at least get easier.} AND you will have a healthier activity taking the place of social media.

the dilemma. what about selling art? i sell things that people see on instagram. am i brave enough to walk away from it and trust that people will find me here? that people will find my little Etsy shop? i also LOVE sharing. i love sharing photos of things that i find to be beautiful and evoke joy. i enjoy sharing art that I make. do i give all that up? i ask myself the question, why am i sharing? is it truly for the viewer? or is for my own ego or to receive validation and appreciation, likes and comments. whatever it is, i feel that i need a break. the ARIES in me will not set rules for myself, but rather extend an invitation to step away for a while with no set time frame. (i'm a rebel and a rule breaker).....also, i really enjoy seeing some of my friends, their art, and their stories. it's a nice way to see what's going on with them. but i want more. i want something different.(i will go to their websites to keep up!!) those who know me well know that i'm a huge letter writer. i LOVE to send snail mail. this is a lost art that i'm determined to keep alive and well. (at least in my corner)....i will do more of that.

i got my love of snail mail from my grandma lu. she was one of my favorite people i've ever known. she was so talented and kind. all the cool things she did, she did because she loved it. her life was simple yet so full and she was always sharing with those around her. she found beauty in the smallest things and loved to point them out to us. i helped her around the farm collecting eggs, putting my papa emerson's honey in jars and labeling them, then loading up the wagon and taking the honey to the local store down the street with my grandma. times were so simple and she was genuinely happy. she didn't have anyone other than her immediate friends and family to share all of this with. she had nowhere to post photos of her doing the things she loved.... she just did it all and was happy...... that's all. some of my fondest memories are from spending time with her in her cozy farm house, learning to knit and crochet, writing letters back and forth, and just getting to hang out with her. how lucky am i that there wasn't a cell phone being brought out every time we did something fun to interrupt the flow and take away from the authenticity of the experience. i'm so glad she wasn't documenting all of our experiences. they wouldn't have been the same. it wouldn't have been as authentic, and i probably wouldn't have felt like the most special person in the world when i was with her.

i was in the forest a few days ago sitting on one of my favorite boulders in a deep and quiet meditation. when i opened my eyes everything was so beautiful. (you know that feeling after meditation when you open your eyes and everything is so much brighter? so clear)? i pulled out my cell phone and took a photo so i could share on instagram. it didn't feel right even having my phone with me, much less trying to document the moment that was impossible to share. it felt all wrong. i'm pretty sure i shared the photo anyway.

i feel that every day, the need to share and be seen and see what others are doing has taken over and i'm suffering the consequences. maybe we all are? i'm not here to say don't use social media, but maybe we can all rethink how we use and what we really want to gain from it. i believe a social media "detox" can be a really positive thing. i took a break inspired by my friend jackie a couple of months ago and felt SO light. i felt so much clarity and less of what i call "static" which is how i perceive a lot of what we are seeing on instagram.

leslie and i could have conquered the world after our long phone call. i felt so inspired, recharged and had the desire to re-group and pour myself into the things that REALLY fill my cup after our conversation. i love to walk through the woods and notice all of the beautiful things in nature. to look up at the sky and observe the gorgeous hawks circling around over the mountains. i love listening to podcasts,(Art Juice is a great one) and writing/ making art in my journal, and looking through all the art books i have for inspiration. so many things to do that don't involve instagram.

who will see my art if i'm not on instagram as often posting photos of it?

well, that's a question i will have to find out the answer to. hopefully people will find me here on my website. i feel confident that i will be just fine not relying on the giant machine called social media. things will be different and that's okay. i have no idea what direction my art will go in. especially after covid gets better and we can actually go out again and be around people in crowds. when will that happen??? sooner than later i hope.

my friend leslie and i do have something amazing in the works though, so stay tuned! it will be really awesome....seriously. ;)

for now, i will be hibernating. it is winter after all. i will be going within and asking myself some questions that i am pondering.

i will try to get clear on what it is i really want to achieve. spending more time listening to the messages that are so freely given to me when i am connected and grounded and open to receiving. i will paint. i will love. i will cook yummy food for my family.(all vegan of course)

i will tend to what needs tending to. i will be right here doing a little soul searching and soul living..... and every now and then, i'll share bits and pieces with you here.

wishing you all a merry and healthy holiday season filled with lots of joy and authenticity.

*after i wrote this, i discovered this video. i was compelled to come back and share with anyone who happens to read this post.


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Beautiful and thoughtful! The struggle is real! I’ve heard positive things about quitting social media. I do believe time away will help shift us into a deeper understanding of the world around us and of ourselves. The pressure will be off to always try and post and keep up with marketing. As artists, we know we have to share and we will find new ways to do that or should I say, we’ll go back to traditional ways of showing our art, i.e. shows, exhibits or open studios. Our audience will find us once we’re honest about what we want. Looking forward to bigger things with you Kim. Thank you for helping me sort some feelings out.



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