Three Shifts

Three Shifts


🚀 We launched at the end of last month! People are starting to receive their paintings from the Slow Burn series and my favorite part — getting excited texts — is rolling in. Thank you to everyone who became an early collector. It means more than I can say. If you have not purchased yet but are interested, there are a few available paintings in the series

🎧 The Slow Burn series got a little shout-out on The Later Dater Today podcast! The host, my neighbor Lakshmi, describes the series as if “the sun took a nap on the wall.” ☀️This series is all about warmth and going slow, so I love that description. Lakshmi is very thoughtful in her writing and has many lovely invitations for deep thought around connection for people over 45 dating, but applicable to anyone looking to build more meaningful relationships in their lives. If that is also your thing, check out The Later Dater Today in podcast places.

Three Shifts

I’ve got a thing for threes. It could be my surname (“Guth-three”), it could be because I’m the third child in my family, or it could be for a third reason. Whatever it is, three just always feels like the perfect number. So here are three things that shifted me a little this week.

I started taking an evening drawing class at the School of Visual Arts to reconnect with my creative practice after two months of not making art so I could instead make time to photograph, make art prints, build the art shop website, set up logistics, and ship art. Our first exercise in class as students was to draw each other using blind contour. Blind contour drawing — my all-time favorite way to draw — is a drawing made without glancing down at the paper or lifting the pen. It is a total leap of faith. It is a shift from thinking about the end product to thinking about the subject right in front of you. While I do it often, I rarely do it with strangers who reciprocate my gaze. Making prolonged eye contact with a stranger, a friend, or a coworker is a fast track to seeing past snap judgments about that person through to the humanity within — a muscle worth flexing. So when I saw Wendy MacNaughton’s Draw Together Strangers project, I was excited yet jealous that I had not thought of it myself. Exealous? Jealcited? Wendy uses the simple tool of blind contour drawing to get people to look at each other and, through drawing as a tool, maybe even see each other. Check out the Draw Together Strangers project on her site, where you can also download a toolkit to host a Draw Together Strangers on the street or in your next workshop.

I recently picked up The Art of Activism at my local library (Steve Duncombe + Steve Lambert, 2021). There are a lot of examples of creative forms of activism that have been inspiring me and percolating as I continue to read. Something that shifted me immediately was a simple chart in their process section: The Spectrum of Success. Having a range of acceptable outcomes is common in negotiating and apartment hunting, yet I had never thought to apply it to the black-and-white process of goal-setting, which I’ve always viewed with either you-hit-the-goal or you-failed strictness. Making space for a spectrum of success is starting to shift my perspective of what it means to be successful in my creative work in a way that makes room to celebrate wins along the path to a big dream without lowering my standards. And in my personal life in a way that allows me to take action even when I know I will fall short of my ideals. In other words, The Spectrum of Success is a necessary and compassionate antidote to living as a mere human with perfectionist tendencies.

I have been thinking more about cognitive dissonance this month and the psychological drive to align internal values with external action in a moment of social overwhelm and hopelessness. In this conversation, Krista Tippet and Dan Harris discuss ways to stay sane in a chaotic world through an expansive Both / And perspective. It’s nothing new, but I needed the reminder. The world is distended with pain and atrocities and joy and beauty. A spectrum of consciousness and realities simultaneously unfolding. Sourcing joy and gratitude does not deny others' pain, it helps us to build resilience through which we can take action and avoid burnout. 

Thank you for reading. I’m grateful for you 🙏


🗣️ What is something that shifted for you this week? What made you open to it, whereas you may have previously been closed? What changed for you after experiencing this shift?



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