Tagged Perspective

It’s all for love; being a Creative

Peabody Essex Museum; "Native Fashion"

Do what you love. Do it FOR love. In this month of romance I am reflecting on what it means to be passionate about something outside of someONE. Not fulfilling our innate longing makes us less lovable, in a constant state of unrest and totally incomplete. Sorry Tom Cruise, another human being cannot “complete us”; completion is only accomplished by acknowledging the validity of our internal self where that longing comes from. We are born this way.

When I turned 50 I realized that I had spent too many years operating my life by the dictates of well-meaning others which always seemed to clash with my own internal driver. Because my personal operating system* was so different from most people’s, I assumed they were right and that my dreams were flawed. It wasn’t until I fully understood that people see the world and it’s opportunities in different ways that they therefore create in different ways. Like many Creatives I understand in a very different way than most people around me including even my own spouse. Embracing that difference allows me act on that internal drive rather than suppressing it.

Now past age 60 I know that I must follow my internal longings and “create” on a daily basis to feel whole. I must assemble, design, coordinate. I must mix, blend, build. I must ruminate, experiment, test. The ideas come faster than I can put them down and if I cannot write or can’t get to a paint brush, an empty pot and a full larder in the kitchen will do. I feel alive with purpose when I am creating, know that I am doing what I am intended to do and I LOVE my life when I am doing it. To a Creative, the void of personal expression is a depressed spirit. Have you been there?

I am happy that I have been able to establish my livelihood through my creative work. My methods fly in the face of traditional business plans and it has been a running joke that I periodically have to “prove” my intuitive process with traditional methods to banks, family members that are scared to death of my latest brainstorm, to clientele that give me the deer-in-the-headlights look and even to myself! But it does work out and when it is less that perfect, a creative touch nudges it in the right direction.

In this month dedicated to love, think about what you love to do and I encourage you to embrace it. Because the thing is, people live their dreams all the time, so why not you!

My latest creative project was the re-assembling of my studio and esthetics business when I moved it back to Canterbury, NH from Portsmouth, NH last December. Here are a few before and after photos…

I carved out a portion of our barn to act as my “store” for my art and esthetics practice. Hubby built the wall and sliding door then I white-washed everything. A recycled window from a historic house in town makes a nice divider and lets light from the windows through.Batn store redo; janebalshaw.comI opened the store in the late summer before all my goods were here so just placed an antique dresser against the wall.  But soon I knew I needed more display space.  I envisioned color palettes at eye level but the mirror was in the way…so I separated the dresser and raised the mirror effectively extending the piece to accommodate shelves in between. Again hubby built and I re-finished. FullSizeRenderIMG_2740make up bar construction; janebalshaw.comIMG_2842 In my absence from our home, we had turned part of my studio space into an apartment so returning meant re-converting it back to an esthetics space.  I had laid the floors before but, oddly, all the fixtures that hubby and I built for Portsmouth fit here EXACTLY.  Facial room do-overIMG_2804IMG_2835

*There are many psychological stereo types to explain why people differ – right brain/left brain, mars/venus, introverted/extroverted, visual learners/kinesthetic learners…. the fact remains that we all learn and do differently, no one way is the right way EXCEPT that way that works for you.

COVER PHOTO COLLAGE: I loved the artistic personal expression shown in the current exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum.  Thought you would like that pop of color too!

In-between inspirations; Happy New Year!

winter lights; janebalshaw.com

Ended but not started. Here but not yet there.  Resting but still awake.  It takes great trust to reside in this state of limbo; to know that what has been planned will unfold with its own natural ease… like the December holidays passing into a New Year and like I am experiencing with the closing of my business life in Portsmouth to reopen in Canterbury.

The possibilities can be divine while in this state so I am embracing the tingling sensation of dangling in front of the unknown. What once was routine doesn’t have to be, old can become new and the often blurry lines that divide life’s road become more clear.  I like “in between”. It is like watching puzzle pieces fit together to give rise to a whole new picture.

Every year at this time I intentionally put myself in this flux to re-imagine my life.  I set aside a block of time to go still inside myself free of unnecessary chatter or input from the people around me.  I try to observe my surroundings in a detached way looking from the outside in.  It’s easy to look from the inside out but to self-observe is to understand where we fit in. For me, this is one of the jumping off points for original creative thought.

Here are some images of things that are inspiring me at the close of this year. I hope you have a creative start to your new year!

Hachiya persimmons and raw pistachios; special ingredients as part of my Christmas meal.  I am reminded that I can be too small in my thinking; where these foods & colors are predictable is a whole world away.  I want to be more culturally aware.

Persimmons & pistach; janebalshaw.com

Winter red; I am reminded of the importance of rest.  Nature uses red in small amounts to signal an alert.  Too much red is weary and I like the fact that these dabs of red are surrounded by the neutrality of white winter snow and brown branches to create visual rest. This is a good proportion to remember in work and life.

winter red; janebalshaw.com

Candlelight; I am reminded of the mystery of the night.  I want to be more observant of the stars and the moon patterns because they affect us (especially women!)  In November I bought my first Farmers Almanac and used it to plan long-range weather for my move – it was right on!

observing night; janebalshaw.com

Simple joy; while watching other in pure bliss it reminds me to slow down to savor the simple moments in life.  Mike; passionately, totally absorbed in cooking – a great friend.  Developmentally handicapped, sweet, sweet spirited Carl enjoying the music to “Here Comes Santa Claus”.  Carl is cared for by our cousins Bob and Terri.

Simple joys; janebalshaw.com

The great outdoors; when I see my cats in such a state of rapture just because they are outdoors it reminds me of what they know internally – health, wellness and groundedness comes from breathing in fresh air.  I must prioritize my habit of daily walking.

the joy of outdoors

Happy new year!

A Matter of Perspective

Here in Canterbury where I live, we loose power when the clouds barely sneeze; just a little snort will do it.  And on our tree-lined dirt road we are always the last to get the juice back on being at the end of the line, at the end of the line.   So when our utility company warned us to be ready for hurricane Sandy we hunkered down.  Water? Check. Ice? Check. Phones charged? Check.

So while the rest of the lower east coast suffered such devastation, we privileged Canterburians up here did our own version riding out the storm while we lost power for three days.  Here is what my daughter (who we think should be a writer for Saturday Night Live) emailed to my sister in California who we knew would be worried about us.

we have to eat our hands and faces off in order to survive until morning. we only have 3 lbs. of gourmet cheese, 4 whoopie pies, 16 chicken breasts and thighs (boneless, skinless), 24 Oktoberfest, 4 bottles of Cabernet, 8 bottles of Chardonnay-Pinot Grigio blend, 3 loaves of artisanal sourdough bread, 1/2 a pomegranate, 6 heirloom apples, 3 limes, gin, organic raspberry tonic water and raw honey….so  hopefully help will make it to us soon. Godspeed. we are writing to you now from our Verizon wireless Hotspot internet connection via MacBook Pro so we apologize for the poor connection and lack of prompt response. we know that you have been anxiously awaiting our reply since nearly an hour ago. send word to all that we will, with God’s grace, survive. you must know that we love you. we have always loved you. only love. you. until we meet again. battery running low. don’t. know. how. much. longer. we. —— fasdufhlhjlkSdfhue679wGYUEbljab”

When you adjust your perspective in contrast to the world around you, what was a little loss of power?  One always looks better by candlelight anyway.