Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage." ~Anais Nin

It's been a busy week filled with photo shoots and meetings.

When did my life become so professional sounding? Well, my new business-like vocabulary might still sound a little strange to me, but let me say: it feels wonderful. I love that being professional means that I go over to a client's house and, without hesitation, get down on the floor to make friends with their four-legged family members. Before I know it, they're absolutely basking in the attention of my camera. By the time I'm ready to leave, cats become exceptionally sleepy and dogs tend to take on a whole new aura of proud radiance. I've started to ask myself on a regular basis: Is this really my life?? Because I love it.

I've gotten to know some pretty incredible animals (and their people!) within the past week--2 huskies, a sheltie, a pug, a lhasa apso, a yellow lab, and 2 cats. I still have 2 more photo shoots scheduled, 2 dog events to attend, and will have met with 3 rescue organizations before the week's end.

I think it's safe to say that my business is taking a turn for the positive.

It seems absurd to me that it is only Day 3 of the Be Brave project (well, Day 4 since it is hereby past midnight). Holy taledo. This has been a pretty intense past couple of days! As for bravery, it seems like just about every single thing I do requires some level of courage. Maybe it's just because I'm getting a bit tired (fatigue seems to have a wonderful way of taking the edge off), but I've noticed that I am able to walk into more and more situations with a lot more confidence. Or, at least, I no longer feel nervous about things that would have caused me to feel a certain amount of anxiety in the past.

Strangely, my biggest act of bravery today wasn't about doing something new, rather, letting go of something that I have out grown: cutting back my hours, once again, at the garden shop. You see, while I was on vacation I spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle the uncomfortable situation of trying to run a business while still trying to hold a part time job. I've been wanting to quit in order to focus my energy on Stray Dog Arts...but it's been crazy there, but we'll only be open for another month, but we're understaffed, but my boss injured her arm, but she needs my help, but I don't want to leave her hanging...but, but, but...there's always a but. And, in the meantime, I've been starting to feel absolutely fried.

Turns out, it was easy and all I had to do was say: I'm sorry, but I can't continue at this pace. What can we do to solve this? I said I could be available one day a week. I let her decide what day that would be. For some reason I was scared to say something, but I forced myself with numerous nudges and finally spoke up. I feel a sense of relief because, really honestly, the actual doing is rarely as difficult as we make it up to be.

Before I know it I will be fully and completely self-employed. I can't tell you how happy that makes me feel. Not to mention, my work (of painting) has taken on an entirely new depth of meaning. I'm still getting the logistics formulated in my head, but I can feel the necessary details starting to fall into place.

One thing I do know is that my painting has taken on a whole new level of freedom.

Bravery is quickly becoming more than just doing one thing every day that scares is becoming a way of life. Is it really only Day 3? Sometimes it's harder not to be brave. Or as Anais Nin once wrote:

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

By the way, look at how well this BRAVE SPIRIT is doing. :)

*photo is of Talie, a 14 year old Sheltie. 100% love and dignity.



Sacred Suzie said...

Oh I love that quote! And I love that you love your life. Hanging out with dogs...what could be better? Honestly. Dogs and art. A match made in heaven.

I was brave enough to commit to 10 minutes a day of writing. This has opened up my dreams at night already. Today I'm going to be brave enough to face my finances, something I have been avoiding. Thanks for your inspiration!

TaraDawn said...

My heart swells as I read your words. I drink them in like sustenance, savoring the inspiration, happiness, and pride in you that comes with each sentence. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am for all that is happening for you...not just in your life, but in you!!! Look at you, brave woman...WOW!
I've been missing you and promise to write a real hand-written letter soon. Love you inspiring woman,

Samosas for One said...

This post was inspirational to read. You express not only the thought process that you go through (anxiety, fear), but then the action you take and the discovery you make upon taking that action.

Ella said...

I had a dream last night that I saved a bunch of puppies that someone had thrown into the ocean. One of them sat on my head the entire time.

I think it was inspired by your post the other day.

Melba said...

It has been wonderful watching you take the leap of becomming self employed. I am very proud of you.
and I miss you! But I am glad it is because you are busy with living your creative dreams!

Sharon said...

I am so happy for you, and so very proud of you for taking control of your life!

The dogs you paint are so fortunate, and their people will honor you forever!

Marie said...

Just look what you've created for yourself! I LOVED this post because not only did we witness what happened when you were brave, but we witnessed the ripple affect you have on others. Good for you!

I love the quotes too!

Thanks for the greatest comments on my blog...I DID have fun with my sister! thank you

Olivia said...

I am so happy for you, Jessie! This season of Be Brave will be spectacular...I know what you mean about everyday things taking bravery. I am thinking of you always...I think "what would Jessie say about this?" or "I wonder what she's doing about ______?" I am glad about how things are working out for you!

Love, O

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous news Jessie! How awesome for you! I'd say you are definitely working in your element.
I have vowed to participate in being brave...hmmm, starting tomorrow for sure!
Maybe I should do a "don't procrastinate" project? lol

Left-handed Trees... said...

I've been "being Brave" since my birthday last Friday and it is going *very* well...though I haven't been online much, your words were truly inspiring to me!

megg said...

Hey inspiring woman - wow - you are wonderful!!

gkgirl said...

i have not been around much
but i see that there is
lots new going on for you!
and all so fantastic!
i'm so happy
that your business is taking off!
you are so talented....
go YOU!!!!

Julie said...

I'm so inspired - I am joining in. I hope you don't mind, but I've written about your project and your writing in general on my blog.

Elusive D. said...

I found your website yesterday--and right then decided I also wanted--needed--to join the Be Brave Project! Wish I'd found it sooner, so I could begin when you did, but. . .
I'm doing it for 6 weeks, and hoping it helps me with a hugely daunting writing project. You can find my thrilled/terrified post about the BBP on