The grace to be a beginner — stumbling required

Barb Toland Creative Sparks

Since the day I stepped off into the world of creativity & art, I've learned a lot — and have stumbled quite a bit as well. There have been many times I've had to pluck up every ounce of courage I could find, and go full steam ahead into the unknown.

But you know what?

If we're doing it right, no matter which path we choose in life, beginning down that path takes courage — and a certain amount of grace, to get yourself going.

With that in mind we're going to spend some time today talking about a fabulous quote I discovered by none other than the rockstar goddess of creativity herself, Julia Cameron.

She wrote the book, The Artist's Way — which then started a phenomenon of workshops & meet ups all over the world of people going thru the creative practice explained in the book.

If you haven't heard of Ms. Cameron, please google her &/or go to your favorite bookstore & get this awesome book on all things creative! You won't regret it.

At any rate, this post is all about an amazing quote of hers, that's ended up being one of my all-time favorites. One that I tend to go back to anytime I'm looking for a bit more confidence when starting something new.

I hope by reading about it in this post, you'll be able use it in the same way.

And a little further on down, I've also included my very first painting ever, so you can see exactly where I started (a little over a decade ago). The day I made that painting this special something that Ms. Cameron refers to was so very much appreciated!

Here's the quote:

It takes courage to begin something that feels so much bigger than you — and that's where grace comes in.

Say you've decided you want to venture off into the land of art, and you want to make something. You've been browsing Pinterest & Instagram, and there are so many things you want to try making with your own two hands.

Or perhaps you've invested a great deal of time working in one particular creative medium, and now you're ready to challenge yourself to be more experimental with that medium.

Shake it up a bit.

Now is the perfect time for some courage —  and a wholllle lot of that thing of which Ms Cameron speaks.

Grace really is your best bet.

The word grace  when it comes to creativity & art, can be looked at in a couple different ways:

1.  As unmerited divine assistance"(Webster's definition) This seems to fit the bill when you're heading into unknown territory, and you feel like you just might need a little help. How could we possibly begin something new without a little help from the Divine ... am I right?

2. As ease and suppleness of movement or bearing (also Webster's definition) Now this is a toughy for us all. Especially when fear & trepidation seem to be our constant companions in our chosen adventure. Yes, we'll stumble, fall, maybe even cry a bit in utter frustration (I have MANY times).

But then grace swoops in and makes us look so darn good ;-)

I'll give you a personal story to help you see that grace can be such a blessing when you're headed into the creative unknown ...

When I started leading workshops & classes, it was extremely scary. The first formal class I taught had 20 people in it, and *omgosh* they actually paid for it, lol.

Talk about being intimidated. That first day,  I took a lot of deep breaths, and relied heavily on the grace of the Divine.

I almost let my nerves get the best of me.

But you know what?

Just when I thought I was going to get overwhelmed, I took a deep breath, pulled up my big girl panties, and lo & behold — grace happened.

There ended up being so many beautiful paintings created that night! And lots & lots of smiles were looking back at me.

So even though my my heart was thumping like a racehorse who was running the Kentucky Derby for the first time, I'm happy to report that grace won the day.

And those who participated were full of grace themselves. The kind that we give to others when we know they are trying their best to give it all they got!

Grace can be a two-way street. And I was thankful for it.

More than anything, please begin whatever creative goals &/or dreams you've put out there in front of you.

Know that you will be given grace when you need it, and that you do have what it takes to act gracefully in your new adventure.

And most of all, those around you will have the grace to encourage you in your endeavors. (Just be sure you share only with those you truly trust, and who respect & support you.)

Grace will be there, if you begin.


But you have to muster up the courage to dip that toe into the water. Who knows? You just might find that the water is the grace you need.

And for hanging in there thru the whole blog post, here's my very first watercolor painting ever, done in 2006:



Comments below are always welcome — I’ll be sure to reply!

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