Happy end of March!
Found a great quote this morning in Feng Shui & Money: "As a rule of thumb, never purchase anything with a (credit) card that you will not be able to remember when you finish paying for it." Great thought!
Happy end of March!
Recently I spoke with an artist friend, about money, spirituality, and art. Cathy Breslaw has been doing art since she was a child and has been showing her work since 1990 when she was raising her two sons. She loves being an artist and is always improvising and adding new elements to her work. I wanted to know what part money and spirit fit played with her love of art.
Cathy: My parents owned a chain of fabric stores and they were always worried about money, but I can't really criticize them for the “worry and work” attitude they passed on to me. I learned if I didn't work hard I wasn't doing my job and wouldn't get paid. So when it comes to art, is it working hard or not? And very few artists find money flowing in from their work. I love what I'm doing but wish I'd sell more.
A present dilemma is that my art was selling better before I got my MFA in 2006. My work is so much deeper and more meaningful now so I don't understand that. Before my degree I was constantly developing and collaboratiing with other artists. My pieces sold and commissions for office artwork flowed in. Now, my work shows in museums and galleries, but its frustrating because sales are slow. I love what I do, though.
Whats happening with writing?
Cathy: Besides the blog (artfullifebycathy.blogspot.com) I'm writing for Art Scene, a paper and on-line magazine that describes gallery exhibits and happenings in Southern California. Though the money is not huge, it seems like making money at writing is easier than with art.
A concept I work with is that of “enough.” Do you feel like you have enough and what areas do you wish for more?
Cathy: Honestly, in most of my life I have enough. I'm not really lusting for more. So, in that sense I have enough.
The lack shows up on my lonely days, as not having enough time or people to talk to. Artists mainly work alone, but writing gets me out, going to galleries, to exhibits, meeting people to talk about art over coffee, and interviewing curators and gallery and museum directors. These are things I need in my life, especially the interviews. I'm not the kind of artist who can just be by myself every day.
Is being Jewish your main spirituality and how does that relate to your art?
Cathy: I identify with being Jewish, but my spirituality goes beyond being Jewish, like having a higher power. I believe in God and am a very spiritual person. My faith has helped me through some tough times over the years. About spirituality and art, that's a hard one. On the one hand I think they don't relate at all and on the other? I don't know.
Is art your life's mission?
Cathy: Art has been part of my mission. It's my way of moving through the world, making sense of my life, making myself visible to myself. Maybe art is like saying “I'm here. I'm present in this world. And after me there will be something left behind.” Raising my sons is another part of my mission. I'm just beginning to write but I sense it too is part of my mission.
Do any of your struggle with money make it into your art?
Cathy: I don't really see a connection between making peace with money and my art. My work tends to be large scale. That, with using non-traditional materials makes my work not very commercially viable. I'm concerned more with meaningful creations that people can connect with, not it's worth. And some of my work does sell.
Any last thoughts?
Cathy: Money is a tough for me. I know it's all about energy, and sharing energy. When I'm not comfortable it's difficult. When I'm comfortable, the relationship is good.
Connie's after thoughts: Though Cathy talks about not making much money from her work, art is very important in her life. She loves pouring herself into each piece. And I look forward to watching her develop that same relationship with writing. For more about Cathy: cathybreslaw.com and artfullifebycathy.blogspot.com.
Chapter three in Feng Shui and Money begins by talking about the relationship between money and spirit. We Westerners view our lives as separate pieces. That "the energy of (our) home is one thing, (our) finances are another, and (our) spiritual life is something else."
The Asian perspective is that these are the same thing. The author says shen he sits down to pay bills he says to himself "Okay, it's time to do my spiritual work."
I used to do this when I would sit down and write out checks to businesses. Now everything is paid through my bill pay on my bank account and I no longer have that time of writing out the checks. I also used to write in the corner of each check by my signature "thank you." But when paying on-line or with a card I haven't figured out how to do this little spiritual piece. I think that needs to be my work to think about how to add this back into my work with money and my finances. More to think about and become mindful of in the arena of money.
Well, I think I'm finally ready to begin Chapter 3 which is Hsun or Wealth and Luxury. I still need to do some bamboo painting, but most of it is done and I have
*Put the new fluorescent bulb in the light fixture above the sink
*Begun to log my expenses each day
*Counted my assets
*Written once more in my abundance journal!
Now onto the wealth and luxury gua!
Well, I'm working to finish the second chapter in Feng Shui and Money. It took me about two weeks just to begin the work. The book pointed out that the Chen section is about family and the day to day finances of a family. I did everything I could think of to keep from working on this chapter's work. Finally I pushed myself to begin the work--which was to clean out the closet in my bathroom. Cleaning out this closet was amazing and feels so good. I like to just open the door and looking at how nice it looks now. I have stuff in small buckets that will help me see what's there and keep things organized. I also have drawn bamboo on the door. Still needs to be painted on, but that will happen. I'm excited about how nice it looks.
I'm also finding going by the bagua section is difficult. I keep wanting to move ahead or back, but it feels important to stick with the sections as they are outlined. This chapter is bringing up lots of past guilt and shame for me to look at and clear out and I looking at it feels like I've lifted some weight off my shoulders.
I still need to do a couple of things: replace the light bulb above the sink; count my assets; paint the bamboo on the closet door; begin keeping track of all spending for the next2 months. Lots to do but I feel like I'm really moving forward on this path.
And the abundance pilgrimage continues...