Good and bad emotions have bubbled to the top for all of us during this pandemic. How we deal with those things will determine how you will feel about life when it settles in whatever the new normal will be.
At first, many experienced panic, especially for parents who suddenly had to work remotely and become their children’s teacher. Everyone has had to figure out a work-around for how they would live now and for the foreseeable future when nothing seems foreseeable.
So we learned the value of resourcefulness, creativity, and resiliency. No one has solved the perfect solution for living with the pandemic, but no one utterly failed to do anything to make the new lifestyle more, well, liveable either. Many of us have learned something constructive and maybe even surprising about ourselves.
Like any reinvention, this has not been a smooth ride, but I think the “sheltering in place” lifestyle has given those words a new meaning.
What is your emotional shelter and where is your proper place in your reinvented life?
My lock-down evolution started not with panic, but elation. All of a sudden about 42 items went from the To Do list to ‘pending’. The pressures of trying to learn everything about online marketing were gone! No use doing the deep cleaning of all the guest areas of our B&B because the dust will resettle before the season opens!! Two months later, we still don’t know when B&Bs will be allowed to re-open.
This meant I could spend all day in my studio workshop trying the challenging designs that have been floating around in my artist brain!!! Just throw food at me (but hand me the wine, please) once in a while and I’m good! Yay!!
So I hit the workshop and created some pretty awesome glass. Yay!!
After the high, there is a low…
Frustration came after I cut, beveled, and polished the glass and started to make the silver settings for the glass. If you’ve looked at Vibrant & Sage necklaces, you see some pendants with a textured silver bail. For that style, I make the glass and the bail separately then rivet the two together. The challenge for me was to create a full setting from precious metal clay shaped around the glass then fire it all at once.
The trick is the clay becomes .999 fine silver when the binders holding the microscopic silver burn away, so the metal clay shrinks when it is fired in a kiln. Glass expands when it is exposed to heat at certain temperatures and melts. And here I am never having taken a physics class beyond high school!
I was using new equipment and new techniques – and blowing projects. I wanted to pull my hair out when I’d spent hours creating the colors and patterns in the glass, then fusing it, cutting, beveling and drilling the glass, followed by hours crafting the silver clay settings, only to have the glass crack or do funky things after it was fired with the metal clay.
I couldn’t just throw everything away – have you checked the price of silver lately?!
I started thinking about and researching ways to salvage those pieces. But first I needed to finish the pendants that came out beautifully so that I could have that satisfaction. I was really happy after all that patina -ing and polishing. I wanted to share this work, so I took photos and sent them to friends and family. I figured I’d get around to marketing again after I figure out how to salvage the few pieces that did not turn out well.
And when it is all about to change again -panic!
Then the enlightenment. When the world was making noises about reopening, people are rejoicing, while I started to feel panic. I didn’t feel ready and my excuse for not marketing my work (“I don’t know SEO or how google marketing works and I have to learn all of that before I can do any real marketing.”) was disappearing. I had to face my demon.
I finally got advice from Twirling Umbrellas, a local agency that created this website as well as Cheers B&B. I fessed up about the overwhelm that launching a new business online that made my life miserable. They helped me figure out which aspect of marketing online to focus on first and that I didn’t need to know everything about marketing to do it. All I have to do is put myself out there. Yikes! That sounds easy and incredibly scary.
But here it is. Self disclosure.
I enjoy writing, especially about things I care about. And over time, they convinced me, the right audience for Vibrant & Sage will find me if I keep putting myself out there. Over time, they said, a tribe will come together around the concept of creating a new life for ourselves that is based on who we really are under all that fear and self-limiting beliefs.
A tribe who buys my art because of what it means to them in their journey. Because they feel the vibes of the piece resonate with them every time they wear it. That is my raison d’etre in creating Vibrant & Sage.
But if I want believe that blogging will get me there, I had to let go. I had to admit my reluctance in marketing had nothing to do with not knowing the technical aspects and everything to do with “putting myself out there”.
The demon is fear.
My fear of expressing my imperfect thoughts and my imperfect art to the whole internet came bubbling to the top. My emotional shelter has been my studio where I can create freely and my emotional place is shared with a tribe of friends who value each other – and our creations.
Here is Bubbling to the Top pendant – inspired by sheltering in place.
Lesson: Let things Bubble to the Top – especially fear – it can be beautiful too.