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  • Jan Thoreen Lewis

Redesigning Life

You know how easy it is to think that the way things are is the way they're going to continue to be? After the last couple of years one would think I would remember what hooey this is.

For example: I thought that when one intentionally busy year, 2016, drew to a close, life would slow down and I would actually get to use, in a calm and peaceful setting, all the new life tools I had gathered, honed, and made mine. The reality – I got to use them, alright, but in anything but a peaceful or calm setting. What was really happening was that I was being prepared for an intensely stressful year, 2017, that I would have very little control over. Those powerful transformational tools would be very welcome and much needed friends in the months to come.

Another example: After life looked like it might be entering calm waters after the holidays and 2018 seemed filled with possibilities for art, business, and connection with you, my peeps; my little (leaky) boat took a hard turn to starboard. You might have read in the March News from Jan's Studio (be sure to subscribe!) about our new little fixer-upper in Cortez, CO – well, it's become my new canvas. And what's happening to my old canvases, paints, and paper? They get to take a little vacay!

So, what do we do when our well-thought-out visions, plans, goals, and even action steps just aren't working any more? We get to redesign! Really!

We have permission to redesign our lives.

Memories of Home – Cat Stevens, 5″x7″ in 9″x12″ matt, $125

I'll tell you what that looks like for me right now.

Earlier this month I attended a fabulous art event called the Mastermind Retreat in Asheville, NC, hosted by my art and spiritual mentor Matt Tommey. (There's more about getting ready to attend this event in the March News from Jan's Studio as well - see what you're missing?!) I won't go in to detail about it here, but the one point I want to make is that, surrounded by 57 or so other artists, I started to realize that I was asking too much of myself to continue with the plans I had made for this year.

(Maybe that's a big part of what I learned – the plans I had made.) Did I ask God about them? Did I take time to listen? Not as much as I could have or told myself I would. Though subconscious, my plans were actually to hurl myself into making something happen. To produce more, do more, be more, give more, out of my own intentions and very limited strength. They weren't bad intentions, just not particularly wise or faith-filled. But I'm learning.

After seeking counsel from Matt and others, I decided to take the load of bricks I was carrying around like a burden and set it lovingly on the ground. (If Jesus wants to pick it up & haul it around, He's welcome to it, but I suspect it'll stay on the ground.)

This new burden is much lighter, more fun, and makes a lot more sense as I move in to a new season of life.

The Redesign:

~ Connect more with you. Listen to your thoughts, questions, and dreams. This is the very first and most important thing I want for my art business – connection with people who matter to me. Please stay in touch by responding to my scribblings or telling me what you'd like me to write about, whether creative, spiritual, or just life.

~ Use what is in my hands. If the tool is a pencil and graph paper to renovate an old house, use that. If it's a hammer, use that. If it's a crayon with a grandchild by my side, use that. And if I find a couple of hours to paint with a brush, use that.

~ Carve out time daily to take care of myself. Period.

That's it. Pretty simple, huh? I know I'll need continual reminders to carry only this sweet burden, but eventually it will feel natural and I won't feel so tempted to perform, to produce or to be more. And you'll be here with me as I want to be for you, and you can remind me! You are that important to me.


Colorado Roots, 22″x30″, $1850 framed

Be sure to hop on over to my website at janthoreenlewis.com for more chances to connect through The News from Jan's Studio and to enjoy my art. Thanks for reading!

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