Some new year updates

Hi friends! 

Long time, no blog post! Or newsletter. If you’re on my email list, you may have noticed that I accidentally skipped a month, which turned into two, which turned into three...and a half…whoops. Anyway, I hope you've had a marvelous winter so far.

It's been a full couple of months on my end: I'm still making art, though my focus has shifted a little more towards writing, since a big project I'm working on is an illustrated book of poetry for children. And that means I need to write the poetry ;) 

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November News

I hope November is off to a good start for you, my friend. I fully expect this to be an exceptional month, mostly because I remembered to say "rabbit rabbit" on Thursday morning before I said anything else. This is pretty exciting because I rarely remember--how often do you wake up with enough of a brain to know the date?! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Google it--I was introduced to this peculiar concept by my cousins years ago, and only recently learned it was actually a thing that other people do as well.)

Another reason this is an exciting month on my end: I finally, after many months of slow progress/busy-ness/procrastination, put some prints up on Etsy

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Everything is an Experiment

Action is crucial. You can dream about your future all you want, about the awesome person you’re going to become…you know, the one who does all the things you wish you would do…but how are you going to become that person if you don’t start…well, doing the things? What, really, are you waiting for?

Maybe you are waiting for Someday. Someday, yes, you will have more money, more time, more experience, more friends…and then you will write that book or volunteer for that organization or call up that person you’ve been meaning to get in touch with.

Question: When is this Someday you speak of? Is it actually any closer to you now than it was a month ago? A year ago? Two years ago?

If it is closer, that’s probably because you did something that helped you make some progress. If it’s not, then, well, it’s probably time to take action.

The catch? Taking action can be hard. Especially for recovering perfectionists, like myself. Witness the inner workings of my mind, when I am considering taking action: Maybe I will start an Etsy shop and sell greeting cards. But wait…what if nobody buys greeting cards? What if I don’t actually like selling greeting cards? EEK. Better research extensively and spend hours examining the pros and cons of every possible thing that I could sell. But maybe I don’t even like selling things. I’ll have to buy a lot of stamps, that might be annoying…also I don’t know how to do this! It seems hard!

Thoughts like this can go on and on until the thing I was considering doing eventually gets thrown into the Someday pile. If you started at the beginning of this post and are reading it in order, you already know this is not a very effective way to get things done. Once it’s in the Someday pile, it’s easy to dismiss, and sometimes it ends up sitting in there for years. Also, if you are reading this post in order, nicely done, that is probably a good choice in terms of reading comprehension.

So taking action. What to do, when you feel like you don’t know what to do? Recently, I’ve found a way of pretty effectively steering my brain away from all of its anxious thoughts about whether or not I’m taking the “right” action:

I remind myself that everything is an experiment.

Sure, things might not go the way I planned or expected, and maybe I will decide that selling greeting cards on Etsy is not the way to go. But hey, if it’s just an experiment, I can change my mind and do something else next month! Also, you do experiments so you can learn from them. I might learn that I like selling greeting cards, or I might learn that I really hate selling greeting cards—either way, I’ll have more information on the subject than I do right now—and how else would I have gotten that information?

Basically, this is about being willing to take risks. But to me, a person who is very risk-averse, “taking risks” sounds dangerous and irresponsible, and, well, risky. For whatever reason, framing it as an experiment makes it sound much more constructive. And that works for me.

I think the deal is this: actions and/or risks can be scary because they have lasting effects. Your decision today will absolutely shape the opportunities and decisions you have available to you in the future.

BUT. Having lasting effects is not the same as holding you hostage. You can always re-evaluate your current situation and change course if you decide it’s not working for you. Sure, those other options you were considering before may no longer be options…but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new opportunities in the present moment. And we can’t ever predict what those will be; maybe they’ll be better than the old ones anyway!

Let me know your thoughts on risks and experiments and actions—I’m curious whether the “everything is an experiment” mentality is helpful to anyone else, or if you have other ways of thinking that work for you!

Experimentally,
Maria

p.s. I am in fact starting that Etsy shop, hopefully quite soon! If you want to be the first to know when it launches, and hear exclusive details and updates on my journey, sign up for my mailing list here! Maybe I’ll even send you a coupon code 😉 You can also check out some of my art on Instagram.

p.p.s. If you liked this post, listen to this podcast episode. I’ve been using “everything is an experiment” as a sort of mantra for quite some time, but listening to this inspired me to include more of the taking action side of things in this post as well.

September Salad Toppings

Hi friends!

I thought I’d share some more of the toppings that have been making my Life Salad so delectable lately. If that last sentence confused you, check out this post.

Here we go:

Brandi Carlile
Love her! Especially this song. I signed up for a free 3-month trial of Spotify Premium but I think I forgot to cancel it (which is probably exactly what they were hoping for…#oops.) Anway, now I can keep listening to Brandi in the car on the way home from work for another month, so things are all good.

Pigma Micron pens
I’ve been spending more time drawing lately, which has been a really good decision in terms of my happiness and mental health. In the quest for following curiosity and trying to figure out what I really like to do, this has definitely been a step in the right direction. Not surprising, I guess, since the majority of my childhood was spent doing arts and crafts. Ask my parents—our house was a sea of finished and unfinished projects for years. Now at least it is confined to specific areas of the house. Anyway, I’ve been using these Micron pens a lot lately—I like to draw in pencil, ink it with the pens, and then add some colored pencil. In case you missed it, I shared one of my recent drawings in this post. I’ve also been sharing more artwork over on Instagram.

Jane the Virgin
Two friends with excellent taste recommended this show, so I figured I should give it a try. As my dear friend Rebecca said, after I inspired her to start watching it, “it’s a great combination of comedy and drama. It’s not too serious but also has enough of a plot to keep me motivated to watch the next episode.” I would say even more than a plot it has some SERIOUS cliffhangers—meaning I am very ready for the third season. My mom likes this one too—when we were working our way through season 1 together, she would often plop herself in front of the TV in the evening and look at me expectantly, which obviously meant it was time for an episode of Jane. It was very cute.

Super cute crochet patterns
I’m so proud of my lovely cousin Anna who just opened up this Etsy shop! Years ago, when we spent a weekend at the family cabin, I helped her freehand crochet a little bear (without using a pattern) and I remember her telling me that someday she would like to write a book of crochet patterns. Etsy is pretty much the 2016 online version of that, and it’s so inspiring that she’s actually doing it! Also, just look at those princesses. Adorable!

There are just so many cool things out in the world. And such easy access to so many of them with the interwebs! But I will stop here so this post doesn’t take you a month to read.

With inspiration,
Maria