"It's your dream"... That's what my doctor used to say to me when I was pregnant with our first daughter navigating oddball complications and on the heels of far too many miscarriages. I was sick everyday, vomiting. One of my legs turned in to elephant woman at around 16 weeks. I rode around New york City in a wheel chair until I was finally put on bed rest. "It's your dream" he would say laughing and I would laugh too.
2 weeks ago I sat in my final outdoor arts festival of the summer. Hauling tent and table. Easels and bins and baskets were loaded in the car as well. It was hot, really hot. Then it got really windy and ultimately rained. The first day the show closed early due to weather. The second day was cooler but not much traffic. The weekend was hard. This show was the final of a series I did over the past few months where I have been accosted by scary men while setting up in the wee hours of the morning, stuck in my tent for 8+ hours wishing for a bathroom break, knowing I was about to keel over from heat and humidity yet smiling politely as people said thoughtless things about my work as I stood there. "It's your dream" I could hear my old doc repeating over and over in my head.
Somewhere, somehow, I decided living my dream had to be hard. Building it, sustaining it, living it... hard, HARD work.
That all changed this past weekend however. I was fortunate to be "the artist in residence" at Jonathan Field's Camp GLP in Rock Hill, NY running classes and sharing my passion for making with a lot of extraordinary people. While running the classes I was honored to teach ranging from Story Circles, to bookbinding, paper arts to an open arts and crafts studio there were a bunch of truly amazing individuals who passed through the doors in to the sweet little white clapboard building that housed the creative spaces.
It seemed non stop action. Some of it was physically taxing. I got a little tired. But... It was never HARD. It was fantastic!
I got to share what I love surrounded by people who light me up. Some I knew before, many I had never met. I got to breathe and circle, paint and glue, fold and bind, teach and commune with others who were genuinely excited about learning. I was able to learn through observation and direct conversation with these same people. When I wasn't teaching I was sleeping, eating, sitting in classes with and playing with these exact same people (icing on the cake!).
As I drove home it occurred to me that so many elements from this weekend are part of my dream. I have taught art classes in person for over 14 years. I finally introduced some online classes in June of 2013. I always enjoy the exhilaration of guiding people to create. I learn from the teaching as much as I hope others do. More often than not is an awesome exchange, it fills me up, BIGTIME!
I first met Jonathan while participating in the Good Life Project immersion program. When I introduced myself and we talked about what would be a good life for me I believe I said, "I just want to paint". I totally forgot to add to teaching to the mix. I now know I need to expand upon my request.
"I just want to paint(draw, sculpt, bind, make in whatever form thrills me at the moment) and I want to teach others to as well. If I can do this in a way that is authentic to me and serve a group of people with shared values all the better!"
I want to continue doing this online and locally and I now know I want to teach in more places too.
This morning I keep revisiting Jonathan's excerpt from the Legacy Myth
"Will this opportunity allow me to absorb myself in activities and relationships that fill me up, while surrounding myself with people I cannot get enough of and serving people I feel deeply connected to?"
I believe right now, following this dream, the answer to this question is yes.
I believe I lived it a little for 3.5 days in Rock Hill, NY.
It's my dream, I can now see it, and guess what, maybe it doesn't have to be hard...