I was listening to Andrea’s Creative Dream T.V. today, and I totally fell in love with the quote she shared.
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell
Boy, did I ever experience that this last few weeks.
I’m in a stumble, but I’m caught a glimpse of the treasure today as I changed my PayPal information to reflect my letting go of Wild Precious Studio and claiming Wild Soul Arts (sounds like WASSSSAAAAAA!!!). As I streamline and embrace ease and create a life that works for me, that will be the name I do everything ‘under’. Book Of Days! Brought to you by Wild Soul Arts. Elements: Self-Guided! Brought to you by Wild Soul Arts.
I am a wild soul who arts, so it’s perfect.
I thought letting go of WPS entirely would be hard, but it wasn’t. It was awesome. It was *just right*.
Yesterday, I got a letter from NING informing me that they cancelled my WPS account and refunded me the entire amount they auto-billed me for the coming year.
I screamed when I got it. Like, out loud. YES YES YES!!!
I felt tears come into my eyes.
I felt a sense of release, of relief.
There’s no going back now. It’s gone. There’s no need to wonder ‘what if’. It’s gone.
I started WPS in the first flush of creative dreaming brought on by my new-found love of art journaling as a key component in recovering from the years I spent with trauma-induced writer’s block. It was a *great dream* and I will always fondly remember the first few small baby steps I took towards making it happen. I started with a BuddyPress on a domain, and soon moved to a NING. I made oodles of connections, contacts, and friends. I soared.
But I didn’t trust my own vision OR my own talent. Calling myself a teacher was gravely uncomfortable for me. I just wanted to art *alongside* people without any sense of obligation to actually teach them anything.
Because I didn’t trust my own vision or my own talent, I delegated. I asked OTHER people to teach (and we’d split the proceeds). I came up with the idea to do a series of twelve journaling + art prompts loosely based on The Artist’s Way and call it The Truth Project. I *gave that away* ~ commissioned *someone* else to do it in exchange for space in the site and a platform to launch themselves in *instead of doing it myself*. I started doing a weekly prompt group, but I didn’t feel comfortable with my ability to demonstrate it, so I *handed it off* to someone else.
The above is a list of failures.
There were some successes. I created, wrote and produced my first e-course, which was successful beyond my wildest dreams ~ and I *did that by myself* and it was so well received that my confidence was bolstered. Not quite enough to embrace the role of teacher, but enough that I let my site grow and grow until it was crazy big and impossible (or so I believed) to manage on my own. I asked my best friend to partner with me in keeping the place packed with content and activity.
And then I made another series of mistakes.
Having so many lurking and non-active members made me paranoid and insecure, so I started deleting them. Then, because that was way too hard to keep up with, I abandoned my first NING and started a second. Then I started a Facebook group that was soon absolutely packed with people. Then my inner spam nazi came out and I became very resentful over the number of people who appeared to be using the network I’d created to attempt to market themselves.
Then I caught wind of how unhappy my volunteer instructors were and how they were planning on taking all my people ‘away from me’ and into their own new networks.
And then, hell. And omgDOOM and awful, awful, awful.
I fell out of love with Wild Precious. What’s worse, I felt I couldn’t trust anyone anymore. What’s even worse?
I gave up. I offered to turn the network over lock, stock and barrel to my partner, but she didn’t want it. Her chronic illness and resultant flares and inconsistent energy levels made it difficult for her to keep up with her end of things to begin with. I just wanted to go back to arting on the couch for my own pleasure. I wanted to be quit of all the drama llamas and gossips and nastiness. I wanted uncomplicated. I wanted ease.
So I told my partner ~ “We’ll give it ’till January and if you are managing better and things pick up, maybe we can save it. But I doubt it.”
And it didn’t pick up. Things didn’t improve. I fell into a depression. I wanted nothing more than to walk away from the whole thing.
I encouraged my partner to do something outside the site to bolster her own market so she wouldn’t have to depend on WPS for anything in case it should die. I knew it was going to die. I knew the heart had gone out of it for me. I knew I’d failed to achieve what I wanted to achieve, but I wasn’t *quite* ready to admit defeat yet ~ especially when my partner seemed so invested in keeping it going…
But, in truth, I abandoned it. I just moved on. I failed my partner. I failed my vision. I left the site up, but I took some time off. I did art on the couch. I took a few classes. I licked my wounds.
I developed a style of journaling, a way of getting things done that felt good to me…
and before long, I started Book Of Days, and wow….
It was beautiful. It was wildly beautiful and soon grew in popularity. There were 1200 members. I was over the moon.
But it was a solo project, and it was a very, very time consuming one, and my partner wasn’t too pleased with me for moving all my energy into it and out of WPS (understandably), but I knew that was what was right for me.
I lost that friendship, and a few others (and I have some regrets about that) but I do not regret moving on into something that was more fulfilling for me. Not one bit.
Because it was GORGEOUS. It was ALL mine. It was JUST RIGHT.
It still is.
And BOD led to Wild Soul Arts.
And it’s beautiful. And bursting with potential. And I *know what I’m doing with it*, so I feel mostly certain and secure (even when I’m exhausted and overwhelmed.)
And I’ve grown and learned so much through all of that stumbling and failing and flailing about trying to figure out wtf I was doing…
and THIS is the treasure.
I have stepped into my rightful role as a teacher. I teach art journaling. I teach the art of self-inquiry. I teach the discipline of regular creative practice. I don’t need anyone else to teach for me. Anyone who wants to share their own skills and talents in my spaces *can* but not because I *need* them.
I *want* them. I want to give people a space to shine as big, bright and shiny as they can because I’m no longer afraid they will outshine me.
I want to give my utmost for this highest of dreams because it matters, not because I am obligated to make it work because my partner needs the money.
I want my dream to be *my dream* and I don’t want to deal with the perils of partnership, and the awesome thing is, *I don’t HAVE to*. I never had to. I just didn’t trust myself enough to know that.
I can do this so that it becomes *exactly* what I want it to be. I trust that. I have faith in that.
The auto-bill thing was a real pain in the ass. It was a huge stumble, because if I’d been more organized, less stressed, more focused on what the dream *really is* rather than on all the tiny details that keep me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I would have *known* that it was going to auto-bill and I would have dealt with it long before it became an issue.
But it did become an issue, and that was a major wake up call.
I can’t coast. I can’t drift. I can’t just ‘let this unfold’ if I want it to work. I have to be my own midwife. I have to breathe. I have to stay focused. I have to step into this with my whole heart…
…and I am.
Today, I changed my business name from Wild Precious Studio to Wild Soul Arts. I think this calls for champagne and a hot bath.