Begin with Gratitude
Over the last year, I’ve made a conscious decision to invite gratitude into everyday of my life. It isn’t that I wasn’t grateful before this year, I just did not intentionally focus on the importance of gratitude.
I would find quotes and journals and images that reminded me to be grateful for EVERYTHING.
I guess there are a lot of other virtues to think about but focusing on appreciation rather than what I didn’t have right at that very moment literally shifted my thinking. In miraculous ways. Which is why in my e-courses, both Energy.Motion.Flow: The Beauty of Alcohol Inks and Beyond as well as INKSpiration, A Space for Gratitude was built into every single lesson.
How Did I Change?
As an artist, it is easy to set high expectations for yourself that are impossible to achieve. Alcohol inks never lend themselves to repeat performances and that can be a blessing and a curse. For me, I happen to LOVE the fact that the inks have a mind of their own and I feel like they are always teaching me a valuable lesson: Just go with the flow and let go of expectations.
Rather than spend time being frustrated about where the inks will go or not go, I found myself simply being grateful for what was showing up in my art. Every time I let go of the control, didn’t get frustrated, didn’t set a high expectation, and was truly appreciative of my creative endeavor at that moment in time, my art seemed to know it, too. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but the inks can feel our anxiety - big time. I begin a painting with gratitude every single time.
How Did It Change My Students?
If every single day while you are in a class, the teacher asks you to focus on gratitude, provides you with inspirational quotes and images and asks you to take a few minutes to just stop and to think about what you are grateful for in your life, it changes you and it changed them. I know it. My class is not just about painting - it is about much more than that and I truly believe that the time we spend showing our appreciation for both small and big things in our life can have dramatic results.
In addition, my students do not speak negatively about their art - no matter where they are on the continuum of learning. This is one of the fundamentals of my class - no put downs of your art, always see yourself as a learner, and change your language from challenges to an “opportunity for growth”.
My students do not speak about frustrations with their art (oh, sure, they want to in the beginning, but that quickly changes). Rather, they are asked to see room for growth as a very positive aspect of learning. I model constantly speaking about my art in the most appreciative ways possible and little by little their language changes until not one student speaks negatively. They remove judgment and replace it with gratitude. This is no easy task for many students as they come expecting a finished product that they are happy with or they are bumping up against issues of perfectionism. But, this shift in focus does create miracles and this transformation does not end in my e-course Facebook Group. I have no doubt that cultivating a space for gratitude spills over into their everyday lives, as well.
"The struggle ends when gratitude begins." — Neale Donald Walsch
How I Show My Gratitude
Besides gushing about my students and their successes as artists, one of the additional ways I show gratitude is to students who enroll in my classes. I love giving away gifts of my art in various forms to my new students and this new e-course is no exception. In fact, I am tripling the amount of giveaways to those who enroll in Energy.Motion.Flow: The Beauty of Alcohol Inks and Beyond.
I’ve created a special video about A Space for Gratitude + Student Gifts. Join me as I ask you to think about gratitude as a valuable shift in mindset in your daily lives and take a look at all of the fabulous gifts that I will be giving away to 10 lucky new students to my upcoming e-course.
And...develop an attitude of gratitude and watch miracles happen.
"When you have an attitude of gratitude you wake up saying thank you." — Maya Angelou