Theme for June: Simplify | Wondershins

Simplify

I read a beautiful book a few months ago, a book filled with colorful paintings and soaked to its spine with inspiration. You may have heard of this book – The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna. I highly recommend it to any creative wonders who are hesitant about using their creative gifts. This book is a very quick read and can be completed in a day, so you don’t have to spend four months until you “get the lesson.”

The message of the book is that we are able to choose between “Should” and “Must” – Should being what we feel like we need to do and what is expected of us, and Must is our heart’s deepest desire. While I haven’t yet abandoned my Should (working a job that isn’t using my creativity to its fullest potential) to dive into my Must (focusing on my art full-time), I have allowed this message to sink into my mind and slowly grow until it reaches my heart.

With the thought of “Shoulds and Musts” slowly working its way around my mind, I started to realize that it could be applied to my art as well. I mentioned in my last post that I have been feeling a tad bit lost regarding my creativity. It was as if all my illustrations were created to be posted on Instagram and my blog, or they had to be good enough to be turned into an art print to sell one day. And to be honest, these illustrations were starting to feel like Shoulds to me. I should draw this for social media, I should create this for my blog, I should do this to gain more followers, get more likes, and sell some damn artwork already!

I didn’t think it was possible to feel confined within the one thing that made me feel so free, but there it was. Within my creative journey, I was standing at the crossroads of Should and Must.

So in May, I gave myself permission to venture towards Must, to set aside all the things I should do – the things that I thought would drive me towards starting a business – and instead, create from my heart. Even though I felt like I was taking a step back, I gave in to the whimsies of my heart and let myself breathe for once.

Instead of creative tasks piled up to be posted on social media, I took my time and conjured up Thoughtfuls for people in my life. These Thoughtfuls came in the form of little doodles, original illustrations, and carefully picked-out gift parcels to be sent to people dear to me. I took my time because I wanted to put as much care and thought as I possibly could into every ridge of the paper. There was no need to rush, because I didn’t have to post it to the public on this specific day or that particular day.

It was just me and my recipient.

Simplify by Wondershins | Bearcat Envelope Doodle

From these moments evolved new illustration experiments that sparked crisp ideas in my mind. I didn’t stumble backwards after all. No, I was taking slow steps forward in an unexpected way. This is my growing process as an artist, and I was able to experience this because I didn’t tie myself down with all the Shoulds.

In April, I had stopped posting on Instagram, didn’t write any blog posts, and basically had to push a giant “pause” button on my Wondershins journey, all because of the overwhelm. Too many things to do, too little time, and of course, too many Shoulds hiding my Musts from view.

In May alone, I have created more than I had in April, but have also gone back to posting consistently on Instagram. And it was all because I stripped away the things I couldn’t face at the moment and limited my focus to what really mattered.

So I decided that my theme for June would be Simplify.

When your life is cluttered, whether physically or mentally, it can be difficult to find the right road to walk towards. Brambles of tasks and tangles of joyless clothes obstruct your path. Cobwebs of junk boxes and fallen trees of anxiety bar you from moving forward. To simplify your life is to remove these obstructions, to give yourself a clear road ahead, and lift the burdens from your shoulders.

It is now mid-June, but I have already begun to simplify my life in May. Even though this is my monthly theme, I know that simplifying my life is a continuous process that will take time. Organizing my closet will not take one day, nor will clearing out my email inbox or sorting through all my photos. But I think it’s important to keep simplicity in mind as I move along, as well as my past themes (priority, small steps, foundation, and connectivity).

I will share more of my findings here (and yes, I aim to blog more consistently, I promise!), including ways to simplify my creative processes, and hopefully you will discover little tids here and tiny bits there that can help you improve your life as well. So much has happened since I took on this new mindset, and for once, I finally feel like I can see my path towards Must.


PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS:

What area in your life can use some simplifying? What is one way that you can clear the clutter in that area of your life, so that you can live it more joyfully and freely?

Comments

  1. I love your Thoughtfuls! (And I bet the postman/woman does, too!)

    My things and possessions can definitely use some simplifying. I have a lot of junk that I either need to throw away or organize better. I’ve been able to tolerate it until recently, and now I think it’s time to do some *very* late spring cleaning. I’m going to start with the visible junk, like the papers on my desk and misplaced trinkets in my room, and then tackle the messier, nearly forgotten things in my closets and drawers.

    Of course, the hardest part for me is starting. I hope I can get at least some cleaning done before the week is over!

    • Thank you, Min! I have always wondered if the postperson sees the doodles. If they do, I really hope it puts a smile on their faces!

      By the way, it’s never late to clean! I think it’s an ongoing process, as we are continuously buying new things as well. According to Marie Kondo’s tidying method, supposedly once you apply the KonMari method, you shouldn’t have clutter anymore. But…it takes so much time to do the cleaning! But if you were interested, I think both of her books are good reads to help get started. The hardest items to clear out are sentimental, memory-filled ones, so if you tackle those papers and things you don’t really care about first, you’ll feel a lot more successful! Happy cleaning for you! Once you get started, it’ll feel like little burdens are being lifted off your shoulders. 🙂

  2. Jackie, your Thoughtfuls are so wonderful. I’ve no doubt they bring so much added joy and light into the days of their recipients.

    When it comes to simplifying, I think I need to need simplify my meals. When trying to go from eating out all the time to preparing meals at home (and as someone who does not enjoy cooking in the least), I think I’ve been trying to do too much. Since the act of cooking is already an effort for me, I think I need to keep things simple so that they don’t feel so arduous a task. Simple breakfasts and lunches, then perhaps a little more exploration with dinner when my husband can cook with me (he’s so much better at it and intuitive with flavors). ^.^

    • Aww, thank you so much, Kimberly! If it weren’t for your beautiful Endearments, I wouldn’t have started sending out Thoughtfuls in the first place. <3

      About cooking - yes! Keeping it simple and then building up to it can keep cooking from feeling so tedious. I cook mostly every day, and even I still keep it simple. Sometimes we think that we want to make all these delicious-sounding foods we see on restaurant menus, but even the simplest of meals can be just as tasty. I am more than happy to share some simple cooking tips, if you would like, but one thing I find really helpful is to make double when you are cooking. That way, you have leftovers to eat for another meal, saving you from cooking too much. Because as much as I love cooking, it can be tiring, and the days when there are extra leftovers or some freezer meals have been total life-savers.

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