I come from a family of artists.
My father’s a storyteller. We walked through Spain together on the Camino de Santiago, and during our 25-day trip, Dad constructed a multi-plotline adventure in another dimension off the top of his head.
My mother replicates beauty. She chases sunrises and notices flowers. She draws and paints. She created stained glass for several years. To her, beauty gives to us so we can give it in return.
When I was in junior high, she rented a tent at a fair to sell her stained glass pieces. She worked for months to make enough beveled crosses, nightlight covers, and large pieces depicting lilies and angels.
She came home crying on the first night – she’d given it away. When people recognized beauty in her work, she’d give it to them. She’d hope to be paid for the hard work she’d done, but her instinct to show and share beauty won over. It made her heart sick.
A hope deferred makes the heart sick.
I avoided hoping. I had middle-class goals: graduate high school, graduate college, get married. But the self-bettering goals set a bar for disappointment, and I knew what disappointment could do to someone.
My heart got sick anyway. I couldn’t get to class on time, I didn’t follow through with group assignments, and I didn’t remember to buy toilet paper before I’d run out. I couldn’t muster the energy to pick my clothes up off the floor when I changed into sweats. These things (among many others) seemed second nature to everyone else, and I couldn’t get it done. My self-talk created it’s own set of goals structured by culture and my perception of everyone else’s life. When I didn’t measure up, I heard: You’re lazy. You never follow through. How can someone trust you if you never get things done?
I was so tired of feeling like I wasn't enough.
I went to counseling, visited with friends, and eventually started a goal setting path. I learned how to fall, how to get up, and how to keep going. I learned about grace.
At the end of my first goal-setting year, I’d written a book of poetry, co-chaired the children’s area at a local arts festival, and written birthday cards to my favorite people throughout the year. I was exhausted but so satisfied.
Now what I offer is my goal setting and follow through process. It’s for people who have a hard time getting up in the morning, who are overcome by shame, and who can’t seem to do the things they have in their hearts to do. It’s also for people who generally like self-evaluations and to-do lists.
I’m hosting a free goal-setting workshop at District House coffee shop in Oklahoma City on January 23rd from 9:30-4:30. The event will be broadcast live at zoeloeser.com for those who’d like to come but can make the distance. If you want email reminders and things, you can register here.
My parents taught me that experiencing beauty is about sharing it. Let’s experience together the beauty of a life well lived.
Zoe is the founder of Envision, a goal setting workshop to help people cultivate rich lives. She lives in an Oklahoma City tree house with her man and two dogs. You can be encouraged by her everyday at zoeloeser.com/blog.