Becoming An Explorer

By pen and inklings

Lost Creek Trail


I’m on a quest to overcome my fears related to creativity, namely Art and Writing. I’m looking for people who are struggling with their own fears, who will travel with me on this journey to conquer the giants and take back the land of confidence. I need fellow travelers who want to learn, grow and develop to become all they were created to be.

After 18 years of caregiving there has come a rest from crisis living and it’s almost as though I don’t know who I am or what I would like to do now. A question I keep asking myself is, “what is my purpose?” Being needed by other people has given me a sense of importance. It started out as a response to someone’s need but quickly became an expected role in the family system. Now I try to shed that identity like a skin but it doesn’t come off. I need help. And what new skin do I want to grow?

I’m going to self school. This is like coming up to a wall I have to scale before I even begin to climb the mountain. As I think about how to move away from the roles I’ve allowed others to put me in, I feel guilty. The thought of becoming a writer or an artist raises anxiety in my chest, making my heart pound. This is unknown territory. In order to move on I first have to stay put and begin to identify where I am, what or who doesn’t work and decide what to do about it. But I must move.

Some things I’ve done so far are:

Hired a life coach
Signed up for online art classes
Talked to family members about their expectations
as well as identified myself to them as an artist/writer
Attended a writer’s workshop
Gathered with other writer’s at a Literary Salon
Returned to my blog which I started in 2008
Began to finish projects I have started but abandoned
Endeavored to keep a daily journal
Pray daily.

Recently I went camping at Lost Creek in Southern Oregon. I asked a Park Ranger how to get down to the lake. He pointed me in the direction of the trail and said,”there’s more ups than downs.” As I made my way along the trail, alone, I began to realize how many risks I was taking. First of all, at the beginning of the trail was a tiny sign that declared this to be Cougar country. Gulp. Then another sign that listed all the things I should do to keep safe:
Be sure you have a map. (I did not)
Plan ahead and be prepared. (I did not)
Travel on durable surfaces. (I did have tennis shoes on)

The scenery was majestic, like a fairytale forest with a path that beckoned me to explore. I decided I would just see what was around the bend. Over roots bulged up out of the ground, under low hung, out stretched branches, across a fallen tree that created a bridge, I relished the warm air and breathed in the scent of pine. This was fun. Then, up ahead, I saw something large drop from a tree and scramble through the bushes. It wasn’t large enough to be a Cougar but it wasn’t a squirrel either.  I stopped. My mouth became dry, my heart beat up into my throat, I turned around and ran up the steep incline back to the sign where I began. I decided my adventure would be left for another day, and with a friend.

This little journey reminded me of my attempts to become a writer/artist. Any day, inspiration may knock on the window. I feel a lift in my heart or a call from somewhere unknown to make a change, take a risk, explore, create. But after a little while, when things don’t go as planned,  more time and discipline are required than I expected or I have to write and write and rewrite or start over on a painting I’ve worked hours on, I retreat. I turn away in fear that I don’t have what it takes. I listen to the rustle in the bushes. And as years go by, I repeat the same scenario. Is it possible to take myself seriously? To make a decision about what I want and stick to it regardless of how difficult it may be? To stop doubting myself? Only I can answer these questions.

I began this post saying I’m looking for fellow travelers and this is still true. Two (many) are better than one. And I recognize the need for encouragement and help from other artists who know the path. But ultimately it is a solo undertaking and I’m the only one who can take responsibility for myself to create or not. To be continued….


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