Finding New Perspective

Guest Post by Molly Mansfield

Guest Post by Molly Mansfield

The year started off for me much different than I expected. I was all hyped up about the creative and business goals I had made for the new year, and then I got sick. Immediately I knew I was pregnant. This is my second pregnancy and for some reason, my body does not seem to like doing this. I have been dealing with severe nausea and vomiting every day for 5 months now. I remember during my first pregnancy, everyone kept telling me “it will go away after the first trimester” or “you’ll feel better in a week or two”. I kept waiting expectantly, but the nausea never went away during my pregnancy. This time around I thought, maybe it would be different. But as the weeks started to pass, I became disheartened. I used to think that doing something creative just took some determination and hard work. But boy, it is hard to find motivation or show up to do the work when you feel bad.

 

So here I was, unwilling to give up my creative goals and yet physically feeling like it was all I could do just to survive. I was pretty discouraged. I thought, "If I’m unable to do what I want creatively then maybe I should just give up”. And, “This year is going to be a waste where I am just existing but not contributing or enjoying”. It was a time when I was thinking very negatively about my life and what was happening to me. But thankfully, I did not stay there long.

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I am so thankful for the people in my life who have been encouraging me and taking care of me. My little boy, who continues to help me see wonder in seed pods and leaves and stones. My husband who helps me count my blessings and focus on the positives. Other friends and family who have been caring for me and literally carrying a little bit of the burden.

 

While I do still struggle with the temptation of negative thinking, allowing myself to be joyful is such a better option! As I have been focusing more on the positives I can see my perspective changing. Instead of “I need to make art”, I realize that "I just need art". I’ve never been a fan of pretending that everything is great when it’s not. But I’m learning that to be hopeful in the midst of something unpleasant is not just inauthentic positivity and it doesn’t negate the reality of the suffering. But it is necessary to continue striving and overcome the pull of despair. It is a tremendous victory to live in the present, the way we desire to live regardless of our situation. I think that is something remarkable about making art, it turns down the incessant trappings of the world's pessimism and whatever negativity is happening around you, until it’s just you and the creative process. In that small window, it's almost like nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if if this piece turns out good, it doesn’t matter if it sells, because it’s taking all the craziness of life and making it disappear for a brief moment. These days, instead of being so inspired to make, I find myself making just to inspire.

 

I am deeply stirred and amazed by the people I see who are dealing with chronic pain, sickness, disabilities, or hard times, and yet they are out there, pursuing their passions. Each morning when we wake up we have a choice. Today I choose to be hopeful that things will get better and even if they don’t, to live in a way that I am a blessing and delight to the people around me. I choose to notice and hold on to the positives and engage in the joys that the day will bring.The year started off for me much different than I expected. I was all hyped up about the creative and business goals I had made for the new year, and then I got sick. Immediately I knew I was pregnant. This is my second pregnancy and for some reason, my body does not seem to like doing this. I have been dealing with severe nausea and vomiting every day for 5 months now. I remember during my first pregnancy, everyone kept telling me “it will go away after the first trimester” or “you’ll feel better in a week or two”. I kept waiting expectantly, but the nausea never went away during my pregnancy. This time around I thought, maybe it would be different. But as the weeks started to pass, I became disheartened. I used to think that doing something creative just took some determination and hard work. But boy, it is hard to find motivation or show up to do the work when you feel bad.

 

So here I was, unwilling to give up my creative goals and yet physically feeling like it was all I could do just to survive. I was pretty discouraged. I thought, "If I’m unable to do what I want creatively then maybe I should just give up”. And, “This year is going to be a waste where I am just existing but not contributing or enjoying”. It was a time when I was thinking very negatively about my life and what was happening to me. But thankfully, I did not stay there long.

I am so thankful for the people in my life who have been encouraging me and taking care of me. My little boy, who continues to help me see wonder in seed pods and leaves and stones. My husband who helps me count my blessings and focus on the positives. Other friends and family who have been caring for me and literally carrying a little bit of the burden.

 

While I do still struggle with the temptation of negative thinking, allowing myself to be joyful is such a better option! As I have been focusing more on the positives I can see my perspective changing. Instead of “I need to make art”, I realize that "I just need art". I’ve never been a fan of pretending that everything is great when it’s not. But I’m learning that to be hopeful in the midst of something unpleasant is not just ungenuine positivity and it doesn’t negate the reality of the suffering. But it is necessary to continue striving and overcome the pull of despair. It is a tremendous victory to live in the present, the way we desire to live regardless of our situation. I think that is something remarkable about making art, it turns down the incessant trappings of the world's pessimism and whatever negativity is happening around you, until it’s just you and the creative process. In that small window, it's almost like nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if if this piece turns out good, it doesn’t matter if it sells, because it’s taking all the craziness of life and making it disappear for a brief moment. These days, instead of being so inspired to make, I find myself making just to inspire.

 

I am deeply stirred and amazed by the people I see who are dealing with chronic pain, sickness, disabilities, or hard times, and yet they are out there, pursuing their passions. Each morning when we wake up we have a choice. Today I choose to be hopeful that things will get better and even if they don’t, to live in a way that I am a blessing and delight to the people around me. I choose to notice and hold on to the positives and engage in the joys that the day will bring.