On Trusting



{From my sketchbook}

I’ve written here before about being an anxious person, and my current efforts to relax with, manage, and lessen my tendency to worry. It has been a main focus of my life for the past several months. Recently, I sat down with Claire Fitzsimmons — former Deputy Director and Curator at the Wattis Gallery in San Francisco, who now keeps a wonderful blog called Joe’s Daughter — and talked to her about the intersection between my creative life and my anxious nature. You can read the complete interview here.

When we are confronted with any realization in life (and mine, most recently, was that I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying) we have a choice to ignore it or dig into it. I have spent a lot of the past few years ignoring my anxiety, which, for those of you who are anxious know, only makes it grow exponentially. I realized recently that I needed to look at anxiety directly, call it out for what what it really is (a story I tell myself), and then, as I wrote in my last post on the topic, give it a hug. I’ve been working to do all of those things, of course, but also to create a new life for myself that allows for more space for relaxing and slow movement, so that I am not constantly rushing to finish things (which only compounds my worry). I have slowed the pace at which I do things, trusting that my hard working nature will pay off regardless — even if I no longer self-identify as (or engage in the behaviors of) a workaholic. I’m trusting that I’ll still make client deadlines, I’ll still do good work, and that — even without a constant hustle — my livelihood will remain intact.

And so far so good. I’m more relaxed, happier in general, sleeping well. I’m taking regular breaks and long walks (those who follow my on Instagram have probably noticed the extra time spent outdoors). I am setting expectations for myself about what I am able to accomplish in a day that also allows for down time. I’m also making time for personal work, which I wrote about yesterday. I’m still meeting deadlines, and, miraculously (or maybe obviously), my work is getting better. It’s amazing what happens when you are not rushing.

I still have a long way to go. I have said before, this is my life’s work, working with fear. It’s like peeling away layers of an onion. But I’m also beginning to realize that despite how scary some things feel in the moment (typical scary things for me include: not hearing back from a client right away or feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing when I’m working on the book I’m writing) — no matter how scary things feel in the moment, everything always works out.

On that note, happy Friday & go enjoy your weekend.