Sunday, June 17, 2018

Forgiving Yourself

As I mentioned in the post last Sunday, failure is part of learning new things. 

This is hard for me.  I am learning how to forgive myself for being less than perfect at all times, in every situation, to everyone. 

This is why:

  • Learning how to deal with failure allows you continue exploring, experimenting and interacting confidently without beating yourself up every time you do something less than perfect.  If you keep beating yourself up, you're going to end up being a hermit in your house, afraid to do anything at all. 
  • It is impossible to please all the people.  They all want different things.  You can't always tell what they want.  You have to choose what to do and in choosing, someone is going to get left out.  It's the way it is.  
  • Learning to forgive yourself helps you to approach situations with more confidence and that ups your likelihood of success.
  • Learning to forgive yourself lowers your stress and is easier on your body, which in turn makes it easier to be productive.  
There are lots of other reasons, too

Here's the deal though - I know why it's a good idea to forgive myself, but I'm not very good at the how.

Here are some things I've been doing when I find myself in a failure funk and need to get into a head space where I can forgive myself:
  • Take steps to actively repair any problem I've caused.
  • Repeat a mantra like this:   'I am enough.  I have enough.  There is enough.'
  • Take minute to get grounded in the moment and then enjoy it.  Listen to the birds, feel the sun on my back, smell the lilacs, cut a few flowers for the studio. 
  • Weed a garden bed.  It makes things look nice,  feeds the chickens, lets me connect with earth.
  • Go for a walk.  Usually, I feel better after the first mile.  
  • Talk about it with a trusted friend.  Saying things out loud often helps put things in perspective.  Plus, people are not as hard on me as I am on myself and they usually have valuable ideas.
  • Let go of relationships with people who make me feel bad or where I am a better friend to them than they are to me.  
All of these things help me get to a place where I can take a deep breath, fix any issue, forgive myself and move forward without being afraid all the time that I'm going to make a mistake.  

As with all things, this will be easier for me in time, with more practice.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018


First sunflower of the season.   Pure joy.

Friday, June 15, 2018


The elderberry is blooming.  It's bigger than the chicken coop now and loaded with flowers. 

I planted them in 2013, from cuttings I rooted myself.   After almost killing them with love, I backed off and let the ducks fertilize them and the excess water from the garden keep them good and moist.  They are so happy. 

My goal for this year is to figure out how to make a syrup or jelly that I can eat [with no sugar,  honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.]   That's going to take a bit of creative problem solving. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Another Experiment - Leonard's Barn

© Robin Edmundson, 'Leonard's Barn' work in progress,  watercolor, 10 x 14 inches

I've been playing with really wet, messy washes, lots of color, lots of granulating pigments and some simplified compositions. 

This piece is really overworked, but the concept is pretty good and I think with practice I'll be able to do things like this more comfortably.   It will be good for me to lay in the wash and then leave it alone.  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Risking Failure

© Robin Edmundson, 'Overgrown', watercolor work in progress

I do not like to fail.

I take it personally and it makes me feel like I am fundamentally and irreparable flawed.   I don't like that feeling. 

Since I have never figured out how to learn new stuff and do it perfectly right off the bat, I have trained myself to risk the failure,  try new things anyway, and work through it. 

There are times, like lately, when I am working hard and mostly producing failure after failure. Even when I have a good start, I often ruin a piece in a later stage.  [The painting above looked OK at this stage, but I killed it the next day.]  My pile of crap paintings is very high.  Every evening I wonder if I should just quit painting altogether and get a 9 to 5, which would at least pay the bills.

And every morning I decide to trust.

I trust my intuition that says to continue.  I trust that I will figure it out.  I trust that someone will show up that day be supportive.  I trust that people will buy my work so I can afford to continue.  I trust that I'll know what step to take next. 

Trust is my best strategy for dealing with failure.   What is your best strategy? 

I'd like to invite you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all the messy work that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.   

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Imperfection: Wabi-Sabi

Barn, Greene County, Indiana.  Highway 43.  Since torn down.

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese notion of finding the beauty in the imperfection of how things really are.  I've written about it a few times here on the blog.

It took a while for me to realize that I choose my subjects for painting and photography because of that very notion.   I love the wabi-sabi of aging structures.  The imperfections tell stories and telling [painting] those stories keep our history, communities and culture alive.   I love that.

Things that have been made by hand and which have lived long useful lives are beautiful. 

What are your favorite examples of wabi-sabi?

I'd like to invite you to join our Best Self facebook group where we can talk freely about becoming our best selves - and all the messy work that entails.  In addition, I have another group, The Well Balanced Artist, for creatives of all kinds and in all stages of their creative lives, who are trying to balance their art, business and personal lives.   We can be wabi-sabi together.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

House Remodel Update #2

As I mentioned in the last post, last Saturday we pulled up the floor in the entryway. 

In addition, the old entryway wall came down.   You can see from this pic that we had to do that before we pulled up that last layer of diagonal sub floor. 

Notice that gap in the floor - that's the current opening/stairs down to the basement.   That will soon be the new hallway.  Which means it has to have a floor. 

Notice the wall in the pic [the one behind the plastic sheeting].  That left side of the wall will be the new doorway into the office, [which right now is our temporary living room.]  We'll be cutting that door in later this week.  You know, after there's a floor there. 

Also notice the ends of the joists sticking out on the left.   That's new floor and new joists will be joined to those, coming over the old floor joists in the entryway [which will be taken out from the bottom].    Confused?   Me, too.  Eric has to explain every step a couple of times, but it is all super structurally sound and working brilliantly. 

What you're seeing here is the entryway with most of the new joists in.  

That's the living room wall at the back with the plastic sheeting in front of it.  

That's the stairs going up on the right.   

The long joist running up next to the stairs is a beam that the basement stairs will connect to.  

The rest of those joists are tied into the joists that you saw sticking out of the floor in the previous pic.   The new floor will go on those.  

In this pic, Eric is in what will be our new bedroom, where we have the saw [and a pile of stuff that needs to go to the dump.]  The joists that you see go over the old basement stairs, joining the bedroom area, the living room area and the new entryway floor.  This means that in a couple of days, everything will have new joists and subfloor and this entire area will be new construction with new level floors, all joined together. 

Next up: 
  • what to do with the front door
  • new subfloor
  • new hallway walls
  • new stairs up
  • new stairs down
  • under stairs storage
  • deciding what to use for flooring in that end of the house
I'll keep you posted. 

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