the single life: learn something new

It’s easy to become complacent when we become masters our fields of expertise or excel in our areas of gifting.   When we spend copious amounts of time developing a talent we were born with or a profession that we’ve spent sleepless nights honing, many years leafing through textbook pages and investing pricey tuition.  It’s easy to be comfortable with what’s comfortable.  And comfort is good right up until that moment, the moment we stop growing, stop experiencing something new.

Last Saturday I tried something new.  I signed up for a 6 week illustration course.  A fashion illustration course.  Now, saying my drawings are childlike might embarrass a child– in fact a few months ago my niece and I took to some canvas and it was quite eye-opening how I over-thought the whole process and well… forget I even brought this up.  The point is that this is very unchartered territory for me as I have no idea how to draw, whatsoever.  I don’t see in lines, dots, points, thirds, not even in 3D.  I’m sure I press too hard on the pencil.  It’s like I’m using my fingers for the first time and the eraser is my best best friend.  But, I signed up for class anyway and in spite of and even though.  I want to learn, even if I don’t become a master at it I’ll learn some techniques or at least have a general working knowledge and a more in-depth appreciation for the skill.  When I left class that day I had completed all the assignments, frustration free.  My drawings weren’t perfect but I did my best.  I realized that I had to first accept that I may not be good at this or that it may take all six sessions of the class for me to learn how to hold my pencil.  And it was that acceptance that resulted in me having patience with myself and with the process.  Which in turn caused me to better receive correction and allows me to grow as an illustrator as well as in character.

When we search out something new, something that peeks our interest or something in a completely different field we activate different parts of our brains.  It’s like something on the inside wakes up.  We pay attention differently, we’re fresh, new again– like babies learning for the first time.  Stepping away from the comfort zone can feel quite disconcerting, scary even.  Jarring at best.  But being willing to not be a master, to not be comfortable, to be new again –if you will– causes us to open up and empty out so that we could receive.  So that we could accept, learn and ultimately grow.

Something new.

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