in the affirmative

*I am taking a page from one of my heroes, Cal Newport, and blogging about things other than the thing everyone else is already talking about. NOT because I don’t recognize the seriousness of the virus, but my mind and heart needs a break from it, even if just for a couple of minutes.

I mentioned in my last post about a direction I am thinking of for my little art studio. During the past year, I have sent myself to art school via online courses in both art history and practice. One of the classes that I just started through Domestika sparked something in me that I wanted to share with you.

Although I have heard for years about “silencing the inner critic,” in regards to both writing and fine art, sometimes HOW to go about it is a bit ambiguous. Learning mindfulness techniques has helped as I have had some practice in looking at thoughts without judgement, but sometimes a block remains.

Adolfo Serra, the instructor of the course on illustration that I am currently taking, encourages re-framing our thinking from what we can’t do to what we can do. In other words, instead of thinking “I can’t draw, paint, illustrate,” think in terms of “what is my expertise?” My particular professional background is in education. With that comes a whole way of seeing that informs my art. I naturally “see” in geometric shapes and patterns, likely due to all of my years as a Montessori teacher. Why not use that in my work?

Thinking in the positive in this way is so empowering and I think will help me “let loose” a bit in my art practice. And it has led to another encouraging thought. I have been saying “I am not an artist, but an art facilitator.” I tend to think the same way about my writing. I say these things because I am not a professional in terms of having art in a gallery or a published book. But I write and work on my art practice just about every day. Both are an integral part of me.

So….I am an artist. I am a writer. Not professional, not perfect, but I AM those things. So there, inner critic, take that!

And you? What ways can you identify your gifts? Look for ways to affirm what you CAN do in the coming weeks and I will too.

Thumbs up,


6 thoughts on “in the affirmative”

  1. Emmie, I’m like you in that I minimize gifts that God has given me. I was told years ago that I should write but I use that gift in writing to people rather than writing books. This year there are two highlights for me at age 74 years – I was acknowledged in a book by my New Testament professor and a book that I edited and rewrote for the National Catholic Broadcasting Council Mission in 2018 is about to be published with me as the editor. The latter is really a study guide about the Mass and will be used by high schools and RCIA groups and small faith groups.
    I’m so grateful to our Lord for giving me the privilege of being part of these two projects!
    I see wonderful times ahead for you as well!!


    1. How exciting, Lynda! That is wonderful and I can’t wait to see the finished product. God has used you in the lives of many folks, including myself, to bring wisdom and comfort. What a gift to reach so many through writing. Bless you.


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