Thursday, July 4, 2013

Conquering the Fear Factor

New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz recently launched his "Open Group for Bedlam Farm" on Facebook.  He's designed the group to celebrate, nurture, and guide us to accept the artist within us.  Folks linked their blogs, shared their photos, and exhibited their paintings.  Passion rules this group and it shows in every single thing they do.  This group isn't an art for art's sake (not that there's anything wrong with that); however, it's much, much more.

As I read each blog, examined each and every photo, and stared in awe at the paintings, I saw something I've never been part of in any artists' group.  This emotion sprouted and grew with every post until, at last, the connections we all have in expressing who we are and what or who we love brought me to tears.

The site has also helped me come to terms with something I've struggled with for years.  In my professional life, I've always written and snapped a photo here or there.  Yet the notion that I AM a writer has been a constant struggle.  A company paid me to write, but I always figured I got lucky, but one day I'd be branded as a fraud and that would be that.  The one thing that always perplexed me came from the fact that I adored writing so much that something had to be wrong to get paid for doing something I loved.  

Now, through Jon's group and the lovely members who shared similar fears, I realize just how self-limiting and self-defeating that mindset has cost me.  Rather than stuffing this passion, I am allowing this authentic part of myself to break the surface.   I'm grateful, regardless of paycheck or no paycheck, this thing called writing can be exercised every day.  The boundaries and barriers are slowly falling away.  My identity's roots are starting to dig deeper, ideas forming buds, and then, perhaps, produce beautiful blossoms.  In any event, I own this creative process as does every member of this group.  Our art reveals our core.
Jon Katz has a wonderful gift of examining fear, his own included, and working through those brick walls that keep us from ourselves.  He touches people of all ages, including a 90-year woman who credits Jon with helping her "shed her daily fears" and advising us that  "its never too late to live a better way".  I couldn't agree with  her more.

Thank you Jon, Fran, and Open Group for Bedlam Farm members.  May our fellowship and our artlive on for years to come.

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