When things are going smoothly and you are thinking you are on the right route thanks to smartphones, Siri & Google Maps, you lose the signal, and the directions are gone. You have a moment of choice words, maybe a small anxiety attack amid six lanes of unknown freeway rush hour traffic, or maybe you are looking down a rural road with nothing in sight for many miles.
No matter how your directions disappear, if your signal comes back or not, you need to be open to finding your way to a destination.
The path you think you want to take may have construction work over the hill or a huge danger ahead warning sign. Possibly even closed for good and no detour.
Art came into my life early, but I went down many other roads first. I really did not have a map and there were no smartphones with Google Maps. I went down the roads of first job, marriage, abusive marriage, divorce, marriage, career, children, then college, art, baby, stay at home mom. Now I have adult children and my road is under construction again, mixed with an unknown future fork in the road. All the days of life are filled with many detours, stop signs, pass with care signs and some great green lights mixed into the trip.
Every one of us travels our own roads, encountering signs, warnings and detours we never imagined we would be driving by. Some end completely. Some have a cautionary slow speed limit that never seems to end. Some are like a racetrack. And then some have bumps, and deep potholes that can do some serious damage.
We all loath potholes. I personally scrunch up my face into a tight mess, close my eyes, clench my butt cheeks, shake my head, grip tightly to the wheel, and send up a quick prayer of “please, please, please let there be no damage” when I hit those big ones you just cannot avoid.
I am always relieved when there is no extra noises, flat tires, or pieces of the vehicle on the curb afterwards. But there are sometimes, those rare occasions, that the unwanted pothole hit does do damage. We cannot just leave the car there in the pothole, we must move over or move on. We find the path to the repair shop to fix the car and put the pothole behind us and we can put the car in drive again.
I have hit a few deep potholes recently in life, I am moved over, I am fixing it and slowly pushing my accelerator. The repairs and gas can be very spendy, and at times I just do not have enough to refill or repair a certain piece right away. It may require shipping and special handling of part you just cannot get in town. But I am okay with that. My navigation system is coming back online, it is thawing out after this cold spell, and my route to art, rediscovering myself, getting a new battery, and an overhaul is going to get me going to great destinations again.
And find I folks along the way at all the service stations and repair shops. Some have the parts I need, some offer great advice and routes, others feed my body and soul. Then there are a few seasoned travelers that have the off-road maps that get you to those special places. They have traveled the road, been in the ditches, and know how maneuver a few tricky spots, pointing out how to go around a harbor or a mountain. They let you know that sometimes, you need repair people and that the bumpy path leads you to just the right destination at just the right time.
In 2018, we took a somewhat spontaneous trip with over 4,500 miles in 3 weeks driving from the center of South Dakota to the edge of Washington. From the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, traveling on our own. Mother and 14-year-old daughter on a trip to gain strength, courage, to see the bigger picture and get out of our comfort zone of rural South Dakota.
We get stuck in routines, niches, peer pressure, boredom, isolation, or as an artist: the creative process. I needed to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to teach my daughter that conforming, the influence of other people’s actions, our location, or settling, is not the only way to live. To teach her that being herself and opening the boxes with her God given gifts, talents, and be curious, instead of trying to fit into other people’s boxes or ideas is going to help her find a happier journey in life. Thankfully, I had the intuition to follow my heart to take her on a random trip before all the societal events of the past few years happened. We were travelling gals on the road in the embarrassing mom minivan named “Red Bull”, mask and fancy free!
Her eyes were opened by many sights, ways of life, first time experiences, driving in a populated area, discovering roundabouts, letting her drive through forests to the beach, and to encounter people from all over the world. It was wonderful watching her realize the world outside our small South Dakota community of 1,200 and to come home with fresh eyes.
I too, needed fresh eyes. I had been stuck, my gifts locked in a box and stuffed on a shelf. I have the gift of creativity and to see things outside the box. My mind is almost constantly full of ideas with the road that leads from my mind often coming out from my hands, heArt, and soul into unique creations and artworks. It needed to be engaged again and needed fresh scenery to help.
The road-trip was an experience to cherish. We went where we wanted, stopped where we wanted, slept where…well, that was sometimes random! Our family in Washingtown was amazing in helping with the adventure, they may not have realized that their everyday adventures or area was helping us see things with fresh eyes.
We stayed with family, friends, in a few Airbnb’s, annnnd to the complaints of an eyeball rolling teenager: the Butte, MT Walmart parking lot in the back of Red Bull (I had set him up for van-glamping and we could sleep two privately and comfortably).
We got uncomfortably, wonderfully out of our routine to wander to new places with fresh eyes, and I am so ready to do it all over again after 2020. Red Bull sadly, would not be making the trip though. But us girls are ready to roll!
Ever feel like you have lost your mind, or you are sinking fast? It seems every cold January I go dark and hibernate, but instead of giving into the dark places this year, I am taking time to focus on the quiet. Enjoying creative brainstorming time reflecting on my work, myself, healing a broken foot & setting new goals. And I am not being a sleeping bear this winter. I am finding my soul, instead of letting it slip away and having to crawl out of winter hibernation! (Can you tell as I’m getting older, I am liking cold weather even less?)
My dining table has taken place of my desk. I am redesigning my website, listening to podcasts, reworking my business plans, taking marketing classes from LATI, creating new content for the blog, reading e-books, streaming You-Tube, and writing business goals. My studio had a big change this past year as it changed to a short-term rental, and The Barn on Custer Avenue is quiet at the moment, and that is okay because by the time this hibernation is over, I will have a game plan.
I listened to a podcast where they were discussing “creatives” like myself and how sometimes doing nothing for a bit is just as important as those who work a regular 7am to 6pm job (give or take a few hours depending on your career). As if I was not getting the message from above clearly enough with a broken foot, I was on a long drive listening to an interview on the radio; they were talking about a slow movement, (now being over 50, I’m thinking they are talking about health and bathroom use), but I was wrong! It is also referred to as slow living, focusing on quality of life instead of quantity.
The Slow Movement is a cultural shift to slow our crazy, busy, overworked, hoarding, shopping, overeating, social media addicts’ selves down. I would add a link for if you, but just search “Slow Movement”. Surprisingly, nothing with pooping showed up in my search results! But as we all learned, 2020 proved to be its own “Slow Movement”. Too slow.
All this babbling is leading into what I am learning this month about technology, social media, e-commerce, and blogging. I am learning those of us born before 1975, know how to market, make sales calls, show, and sell product and close the sale IN PERSON. It is the same as today’s marketing culture, yet much different. (Thus=Lose your mind part). Today it is all about finding your story, following your passion, and calling, being vulnerable, branding, collaborating, network marketing online, catch phrases like side-gig, girlboss, DM, and so many more things I am attempting to learn and remember.
My favorite necklace for the past year says Lose Your Mind, Find Your Soul, and that is just what I am doing. I lost my mind when our reality changed about a year ago; I am finding my story. I already know my calling is art and creativity. My art has always been about mental health and starting uncomfortable conversations but figuring out how to do it all in today’s e-commerce world and what is coming, well that may take a few months of cold February’s to figure out!! I am working on the “FIND YOUR SOUL” part, because I’ve got the Lose Your Mind part down.
Now if you want to see how far I have made it in this e-commerce venture, don’t look for this necklace on my website or my retail store any longer, because I am going back to what I was meant to do. ART. BUT the win for the week is that I did get this blog set up. I think. Give the link a try to follow, check my social media pages @daylesundbergart and leave me a comment on something, or “DM” (Is that the right way to say that?)
Must. Create. Art. I have been creating things my entire life. From snow creatures to luxury interiors to kids art classes, rustic decor and more; however, my favorite thing to create is my artwork. Sculptures, paintings, photography or art journals, it just does not matter, I just need to be creating. Art is my therapy.
There are days I need a little more inspiration beyond positive thinking and just saying I am going to work on my art. There is that stinkin’ thinkin’ that gets in the way some days, and my way to deal with that (besides curling up in a ball and taking a day long nap) is to jam to music. The louder the better in most cases, except when there are other people in the house trying to sleep or talk on the phone of course. And my go to men are Kid Rock and Paul Thorn, over, and over, and over for the past 8 or so years. Now don’t get me wrong, my album collection is vast from Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Nina Simone, Carly Simon, Beethoven, CCR and the list goes on, yet I continue to go back to my two main men.
The same music that gets my heart pounding and my feet bouncing, also get the creative juices flowing through my veins. And when I am creating, the music playing often influences the piece I am working on at that time. If I am painting, I find myself painting a pattern to the beat of the music and when the song is over it messes with my flow, so I will just replay the song until that part of the painting is satisfactory. I do this with my large sculptures also, where I add heavy texure using my drywall hammer and carving chunks out to the beat of the songs playing.
I get lost in my art and the music while creating, it goes hand in hand for me. And may you find the beat that helps you Create Your Happy.
Bear with me as I learn to set up a new blog. I am also rebranding from designbydayle.com, changing hosting sites, domain names and more. I have created a holding page for daylesundberg.com as I create the “real” website for daylesundberg.com, which will feature ways to use creativity in your daily life.
Seriously? Are you frikken kidding me? What else? I cannot deal with this today. I don’t have time for this. What else is going to go wrong this year? I can’t wait until this year is over. Do YOU know what I mean? Are you feeling it? That unease? A moment of complete overwhelm? Frustration?
I have plenty of other words to express my frustration about my glasses, this is not the first time they have fallen apart this year. It is the third. And my backup pair, well let’s just say they have a scratch across them that just skews everything I see. Just like all my feelings and what foul curse words I want to really say, they all are related to the overwhelm I am feeling today about everything else going on in my life and this crazy world.
I can see far away in the distance almost perfectly with little correction, I can see the big picture, the horizon. The things close up, right in front of me that I need to focus on, I need extra help. Each eye has their own focus and needs. I cannot see what is in front of me without them, one eye focuses much differently than the other. Which means the use a regular, “normal” pair of store-bought reading glasses, just are not the right fit. Not the right vision. Not the right perspective.
Today is first day in weeks I have had the news for very long in the morning while I am working, I usually catch the local new and daily forecast, now I remember why I turned it off! I get frustrated, grumpy, pissy feeling, dumbfounded, yet I do get a random smile or laugh when they show the fun little up-lifting segments, but then it goes back to analysis, science, debunking myths, vaccines, markets, results, counting, rumors, and well, you know all that stuff.
Now do not get me wrong, I like to be informed and see all the perspectives, do my own research, examining and forming my own views. But there just some days you are just at your end. Or so it feels. Like these glasses breaking AGAIN. Notice, that the bows do not even match anymore! I am at my end of these and so ready for the new pair. But I cannot have those for weeks, I cannot access them, it is out of my control of when I receive them.
I will have to find a way to make this work, to use the one-armed glasses sitting halfcocked on my nose like they are now, or maybe trying super glue, but I know how things roll with super glue and I would have the frames stuck to my fingers for a few days, not being able to see close enough to figure out how to get them off!! The thing that helps me gain my focus back is creativity, music, release, and renewal. Sounds corny, yep, I know, and if you know me well, you’d say something like “you’re so creative, that is easy for you” or “I can’t draw a straight line, it’s so easy for you” or you might be thinking what good does it do or why bother?
I get it. I hear ya. I feel ya. I have been there. I get in those slumps of not thinking I cannot make or do anything worth anything to anyone, why bother?
My art is stupid, no one will buy this, no one understand it, it’s terrible, I’m not going to show anyone this crap, why bother?
Lift is stupid, I hate everyone, I just want to binge on Netflix, wine, food and not talk to anyone anymore, why bother?
I don’t want to get out of bed, life is stupid, I’m fat, I’m stupid, I’m worthless to anyone, why bother?
Why bother? Because you matter, that is why. Life may not feel like it, may not look like it, you may not think trauma, grief, illness, sadness, and the crappy days will ever end. You may just be acting normal, faking it to get through. Like my glasses, I’m just trying to see things normally, through a broken, loop-sided view until someone helps me see things a different way through a new lens.
Do you cover up your feelings to appear normal or do you face the feelings and uncover them? What is normal? Do you cover up a subject to cover it or should you uncover it and reveal it to others?
I am sick of acting normal, most people will explain me as quirky, a bit weird, and other things. Never “normal” and I am good with that. But normal, break that mold! I have found ways to work through these broken glasses’ moments (or days) of mine. Right now, too many times (as my kids would say) music helps me, and it is one single artist, over and over and over and over since 2008. I do not know if it is the rhythm and primal beats, the lyrics, the sound of his voice, the messages in the songs, the power behind some songs, the raunchiness of others, the sadness in some or just that I plain o’ like the musician. I got to see only one concert, friends back out because of the weather, but dammit, I drove 5 hours through a blizzard to get there! That once performance added so much recharging energy to my soul that why by NORMAL when you can find something, one thing, that helps you recharge and renew?
I CRANK IT!
When I have broken glasses moments, when I’m overwhelmed and all that others stuff that comes up, I turn on the music, 95% of the time it’s Kid Rock, 5% is Paul Thorn. And I mean I crank it, and I am sure if you were to walk by my house at times you would wonder what the heck is going on in there! A good friend even gave me every Kid Rock CD for a gift a few years back, BEST GIFT EVER! (all well-loved & scratched up now, but I will never throw them, we’ve been through too much together).
That is how I interrupt “normal” and the mask and the broken. I crank Kid Rock, I mean CRANK and JAM. My creative juices, my brain and amygdala light up and releases renewal into my life. Sometimes I write, like right now, this blog took less than twenty minutes to spew out. I was having a pissy thought about my broken glasses, needed music, cranked it up and started an Instagram post about it. Then it got longer, and I thought wait, let’s turn this moment into a blog post! And here it is.
Sometimes, it is cranked, and I am doing homework at my highest levels, or working on pivoting my art business plans; other times I am creating crazily weird, wonderful, emotionally charged artwork. I have it cranked, and I function at MY level, MY normal, feeling MY renewed views through the beat of music.
Again, I ask. Do you cover up your feelings to appear normal or do you face the feelings and uncover them? What is normal? Do you cover up a subject to cover it or should you uncover it and reveal it to others?
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