Focusing in on What Matters

A lot of people don’t know that in high school I fully intended to become a nationally known fine artist. I loved to draw and paint. My mom is an artist and I had clearly inherited her artistic genes.

I was one of 10 students from several area high schools to work with one of the Smithsonian artists in residence both my junior and senior years. I particularly loved learning portraiture and found I had a real talent there.

I went off to college fully expecting to be one of the more talented students there. Well, go figure; for I discovered that while my high school was a larger than average pond, college level work was quite a bit different from what I expected. Suddenly, instead of following a general theme provided by the instructor and practice opportunities in several different media; in college, you had to actually PLEASE the instructor and he or she was a very picky client indeed.

Frankly, it just sucked all the fun out of it.

I ended up changing majors and changing universities and finally graduated with a degree in journalism. And I was pretty good at that too, having won a few awards. But I became very tired of the non-forgiving deadlines and the low pay. When the company laid me off at about the same time my youngest child was born; I was fairly relieved and happy to have the opportunity to show my skill as a freelancer.

Imagine my surprise at how much time a tiny baby consumed and how difficult it was to find someone who would pay me for my work when I could find time to actually do the work. Poverty frankly sucked.

I took some odd jobs including working as a night clerk in a convenience store, learned how to paint houses and hang wallpaper, worked as a laborer in a plant nursery, and provided home health care for an extremely elderly lady. In the end, I found for my family stability and income I needed a “real job”. and went to work as a correctional officer in a prison.

I’ve been with the Department of Corrections for over 20 years now. I’ve had advancements and I’ve had both successes and disappointments. But in the last several years I’ve struggled with a growing need to create.

It started with a weaving class. Then the desire to draw and paint came back. I replaced all of the tools I used to own but had tossed out or given away. My ability to draw came back pretty quickly. Using pastels instead of a liquid medium, I discovered I also could still create beautiful things in color.

From that came the desire to write again.

I’ve started a novel.

But now, I need to find the time and energy and the focus to follow all of these interests. And I still need to maintain my 40 hour a week job so I can pay my bills. I also need to keep going with my doTerra business because I do believe the oils are part of the reason my creativity has come back to life.

Getting rid of chronic pain can make such a difference in one’s ability to focus on anything else. You may be able to show up for work, but I am sure your work is not what it would be without pain. I know. I’ve been there. My world is brighter. My energy level is higher. And my brain sees things differently.

If you’d like to know more, contact me at catek2652@icloud.com I will be happy to help you reach for your dreams.


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