“Our destinies are the culmination of all the choices we’ve made along the way, which is why it’s imperative to listen hard to your inner voice when it speaks up. Don’t let anyone else’s noise drown it out.” – Megan McCafferty
More song lyrics, this time from Oceanlab:
“See the open ground
Nothing there to fear
Feel the ebb and flow
Of all the people here
From day to night and
Night to day
An endless sea of choice
If you should ever lose your way
Just listen to your voice
– Oceanlab, “Just Listen”
I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately. About a month ago, I started taking an intensive online painting class and one of the biggest elements of the painting process is listening to music. So I have listened to more music in the past few weeks than I have in several years.
The painting class was an indulgence, to say the least. It was way out of my comfort zone, in many ways: time-wise, content-wise, and cost-wise. But I’ve wanted to take the class forever, so I finally signed up late this summer and then eagerly awaited the start date.
See, for years, there’s been this little voice inside me that has said, simply, “I wanna paint.”
And every time that little voice spoke, I tried to placate it with something *related* to painting, but also something that fit in with my life and was inside my comfort zone. Getting a bunch of big, blank canvases and slathering paint all over them scared the crap out of me, so I found ways to “paint” without *actually* painting.
Since I was a jewelry designer, I started painting beads. That was great fun, but the little voice still spoke up, several times a day: “I wanna paint.”
So I started painting in my art journal. Small pages, bits of paint here and there. But still the little voice said “I wanna paint.”
I started doing collages, mixed media work, coloring, painting via Photoshop.
And still, that little voice kept saying: “I wanna paint.” Nothing seemed to satisfy it. I couldn’t understand why. I was using paint! What was the problem?!
I didn’t understand why the voice was so insistant, but I decided to pay attention and just listen to it.
So I signed up for the painting class. After dithering on the supplies, which included several large, blank canvases, I finally went to the art supply store and got the recommended canvases and paint for the class. Enough was enough. I was terrified of those big blank canvases, but I knew this was sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dive into something that scared me with support and an expert as my guide.
And despite my fear of the blank canvas, since the moment the class started, all I have been doing is painting. The minute the brush hit the canvas, my fear was gone.
Any spare time I have outside of my normal “must-do” activities, I am at the easel. I have put everything else that I normally enjoy on hold- collages and drawing, watercolor, jewelry design, writing, scrapbooking… I just can’t *stop* painting, to be honest. I am making a mess, chaos on canvas, but I feel so engaged and alive with the process. With every layer of paint I apply to the surface of the canvas, something new emerges from deep inside me.
I have no idea what will come out of this. Will I keep painting? Will I make this into a new part of my creative life? Will I ever go back to doing anything else?
You know what? I don’t care. For the first time in my life, the little voice inside isn’t saying “I wanna paint.”
That little voice is saying “thank you.”
And my soul feels at peace. Simply answering that simple request made up of three little words (“I wanna paint”) has changed EVERYTHING for me. I know I’m doing *exactly* what I’m supposed to be doing right at this moment.
And it all came from listening to that little voice.
(What is YOUR little voice asking of you? Can you answer?)
Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.