I am so happy to be part of The Declaration of You Blog Lovin’ Tour! The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique, and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s Blog Lovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us!
This week the topic is Celebration!
For two years I worked on 100 paintings in gratitude for 100 people. This project culminated in a gallery show where I displayed all 100 paintings, invited everyone I knew and had lots of local press. The event was held last summer, June 2012 and called A Hundred Thank Yous.
The night before the opening, with friends’ help, I hung all of the paintings on the stark white walls of the gallery. Next to each painting was a card with the name of the person who I made the painting for and a description of why I was grateful for her/him. It was all very personal. My people + my heart poured out in art and words.
The paintings were all hung. I stepped back. Done. Two years. 100 people I adore. 100 pieces of art.
My husband paused and looked around the room, and began to cry. He was so moved and overwhelmed.
Suddenly, I was horrified. I have never felt so vulnerable in my life. So exposed.
I was totally unable to celebrate the accomplishment in that particular moment. I didn’t expect to have such a reaction. I wanted to cancel show and just mail out the paintings quietly without any party. I felt like I wanted to hide.
At the same time, I was grateful for my husband’s reaction, so heartfelt and present. He was filled with real emotion and warmth, while I was afraid.
I’ve thought a lot about that moment and I believe that some of my fear was about stepping into my own light. Don’t be so full of yourself. Who do you think you are? Don’t get too big for your britches.
The next day, at the opening, there were a lot of people. My closest people came. New friends I had never met came. There was lots of crying. (I couldn’t believe how much crying!) Lots of hugs. Lots of cameras. Lots of love.
I vowed that during the opening I would be clear and present. I vowed that I would feel the love. I vowed that I would take it all in and celebrate all the goodness I had created. I trusted that my husband’s reaction was true, that the energy of love from the art was palpable. By the end of the day, I knew it was true. In a sense, I showed up and celebrated vulnerability.
The whole experience of the Hundred Thank Yous is one of the most favorite celebrations in my life. Some of it was hard. Most of it was joyful. All of it was worth celebrating.
The Declaration of You is a DELIGHTFUL book. I poured through it on my long flight home from Portland. The illustrations, messages and exercises are fun-loving, engaging and totally empowering. As a bonus, the book includes all of these gorgeous contributors! Love them!
I was able to attend Jessica and Michelle’s Book Launch party in Portland a few weeks ago because I happened to be in town for the World Domination Summit. I have a lovely signed copy of their book and it was SO fun to meet them in person again. The party was a blast! Plus, they are just too cute.