As we move into a new year, you may have goals, needs, wants and dreams you’re thinking about. I decided to write a new blog post to share my story with you and hopefully offer some inspiration.
My name is Camille Myles and I’ve been an artist for as long as I remember. I used to colour everywhere all the time, enter and mostly win all the art contests and live in art museums. I went to art school in Montreal, then to Ottawa University and was bold and brave with my art. I created installations using naked videos of myself, posed in nude calendars, created crazy sculptures… then, after school, reality came crashing in and I needed a job. I worked in art galleries and the National Art Gallery as a guide then worked in video editing for a tech start up. I shifted then and decided to become an archaeologist, then a conservation manager and lived in England and Italy (because why not). Came back to Canada, worked in non-profits, restaurants, got my Masters degree and moved into a nice cushy safe job with the feds. Met my husband, moved to Midland from Ottawa, had three kids and became the Park Superintendent of Georgian Bay Islands National Park. In a nutshell, I constantly re-invent myself and dive into new things. But one thing was missing, was my passion and creating art I loved. Because I wasn’t following my heart and finding flow, I became depressed and burned out.
I never stopped creating and started applying to opportunities, like public art because I could carve out time for ideas and I needed help from others to execute. In my twenties, I couldn’t stand rejections and failures, with age I now know this is just part of growth and success. To be honest, since taking a big leap and becoming a full-time artist last year I’ve seen positive things happen (like being interviewed in three podcasts, featured in three international art magazines, grew my IG following by 600%, participated in 8 art exhibitions, went to an art residency in Victoria BC, unveiled 3 new public murals, built a website, grew my mailing list, my art is now featured at a brand new store de Ferrari Home in Wyebridge, launching a collection with an international gallery in the new year, started art classes for kids and adults, volunteer in my community with Quest Art, found amazing collectors and have been invited to join an art collective that is travelling to Brazil next year). On the other end, I have been rejected by more than 20 opportunities, been cheated and scammed from a large mural commission, made some bad art and my bank account is not yet where I want it to be.
I chose to become true to myself by finding what really brings me joy and flow - when time just stops and you find yourself unaware of time rapidly passing around you. But how do you find your vision, purpose and flow? A flow state helps you find yourself in silence and focus to find your truth. Everyone is creative and creativity brings innovation, and ideas come to you in that state. As Elizabeth Gilbert writes in Big Magic, Ideas come and go - you need to act and catch them before they move on to another.
Here are some of my lessons learned from being a creative that may help you find flow and purpose:
Carve out your time. Your time is precious and malleable. Make a list of the shit you do and where you focus your time.
Find your flow: I’m addicted to being in the flow How do you find flow- when time stops? Find that something that just excites you, that comes to you easily, when you can immerse yourself for hours without knowing it.
Draft your statement: What do you value? Why does it matter? Journalling about what you like, your strengths, your values and what matters most to you consistently brings clarity to your purpose and vision moving forward. Identities and goals change over time so make sure you embrace that you’re not the same person before you had kids, 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago.
Understand and change The stories you tell yourself - I’m bad with money, I’m too old, I don’t have any experience in that, I don’t know the right people, I’m not creative enough. Those are just stories that you can change. Focus on what you can become.
Collaborate and learn from others: We’re taught that we need to do everything. If you look at any successful person, there’s probably countless people behind them, helping to make it happen. Collaboration lifts you up and creates a catalyst for new ways of thinking, bringing you more ideas and demands flexibility from you. Get a coach, hire support (even a cleaner)
Find your people: Build meaningful connections with those around you and expand your reach. I’ve focused on helping and giving, without expecting anything in return. I feel better when I’ve offered something to someone else. Humans are made for connections.
Social media can help you expand but be careful of crippling (flow sucking) jealousy and comparison. When social media becomes stressful, stop, pause, unfollow and shift to the present. Come back only when you’re ready.
Rejection and mistakes are just part of growth: Getting your name out there and following your dreams means that you need to be seen by the right people at the right time. Being seen, means not hiding away, but being brave and being gritty with your dreams. Just like Alanis Morrissette tells us: “You live, you learn”
Trust your gut: Your intuition is your inner compass. Just go for it. Try it out.
Feed your artist or creator: Take time just with yourself, get inspired, visit a museum, knit, walk in the forest, go to the beach alone, do something new you’ve never done before. Take a pause.
Choose love first, let resentment go. You are enough.
Be patient, it will come eventually.