Friday, March 12, 2010

Jonah Days

I'm an upbeat sort of person...regularly full of energy, high-octane creative work ethic....blessed beyond belief. I post all the amazing, exciting things that happen to me on FB almost every day. I blog here full of enthusiasm, humor...hopefully inspiring you. In the workshops I teach, especially my marketing class, I am big on saying "hang in there." Afterall..sometimes you're the windshield...sometimes you're the bug. IT happens.

And from time to time people e-mail me and say they are struggling with their art careers, but they are not sure if I will understand because, based on my FB entries, my blogs, and my comments in class, everything is smooth sailing for me and business is falling from the sky. But let me tell you something...basically I am a person who keeps the down days to myself...just my style I guess...either that or I just refuse to give anymore energy to a bad day than it is already getting...BUT I have Jonah days all the time. Jonah, if you know your Bible stories, was swallowed whole by something much bigger than he was...a whale. Definitely NOT a good day.

So this week... the whale swallowed ME. Orders were canceled, workshops for visiting artists in my studio were canceled or postponed, refunds needed, utility bills for my studio doubled in size, stores didn't pay me on time, almost every order I got at the Denver Gift Show decided on May delivery (great for May-not so much great for now), the new video we're making for my on-line marketing class is being problematic...and I'm behind schedule with it. I usually get along wonderfully with my step-son...but we've been head-butting all the way this week. Jonah days.

Everybody has them. But when those days (or weeks) happen...the trick is to learn how to dance in the belly of the whale. Visiting Artist classes didn't work out...figure out why so next time they do. Order canceled...get another one. Everybody wants May delivery...get a head start on those orders...May will be here in fifteen minutes. Bills eating you alive...get on the phone and call every store that carries my work. Stores not paying....get on the phone. Arguing with step-son...get HIM on the phone. Talk to him. In other words take charge. Lead the dance.

I have worked hard for ten years to create the life in art that I have...but you never get to the place where you say "There. I did it. Smooth sailing from here on in!" Nope. Doesn't happen that way. The whale is always out there...always waiting to swallow you whole. And when he does and all the fears and negativity start holding a conversation in your head, making you doubt everything you know. When that happens....I literally speak out loud to it. "Quiet!" I have been known to almost shout it. "Quiet!" (Try it.) Get thee behind me.

So dear friends...whether you are artists or not...when the Jonah days happen...just in the belly of the won't be there forever. Jonah was only there for three days...the whale finally got tired of his strength and fortitude and released him.

And when the Jonah days pass and the whale discards me on the beach...I will dance there too...with gratitude and joy. Then I will get to work.


...Darlene said...

K.C. thank you so much for your post. It was so good to regroup. This past week has been in the belly of the whale and it hasn't been pretty. But I will try to remember I will be spit out and if I can remember to dance that will be joyful.

kecia said...

what a great post! i often get told "you are such a strong person" - maybe - but i tend to think more in the lines, that i am a "take charge person" and when Jonah days pop up - i deal with. i do not like to admit defeat and am very resourceful. you are too and i find that very admirable.

Lisa said...

Wonderful post. My husband and I own our own business and we absolutely have those days, too, but then one day the sky opens and the sun shines in and to have done less than dance during the hard times would have made the shiny days less...well...shiny.

Colleen said...

I wanted to comment today - I am a Weight Watcher (63 lbs down-yay me!) and while not making comparrisons, I wanted to share what my now-thin leader told us as the scale can sometimes stall..

If you were coming down the stairs and lost your footing momentarily, but managed to catch yourself, you wouldn't look up in dissapointment(depression) and say, well that's it. I'm going to throw myself down the rest of the stairs because obviously I'm a failure..I can't even manage theis simple thing - so I give up..

Make one think twice about resilancy doesn't it?

You'll stand're a Woman of the West just like your ladies..

starrynightimpressions said...

Yep, your an optimist like me :)
PS. Love the Jonah analogy! So perfect. God is great :)

Paris Cowgirl said...

And remember...This too shall pass. I can still hear my dear sweet mother in law saying that to me!

Ann said...

i have had a Jonah year !!!!! but, your post really reminds me that all will be time and God-willing....He's a tester,that one!

Eileen said...

AMEN!!! God is in control - no matter what happens. (Jonah found that out the hard way.) He even uses our time in the belly of the fish for our good. Thanks for helping us recognize that by sharing your insights, KC!


Annie said...

KC, et al, thank you for opening up wide with this post. Jonah has been swallowing me for the past five days and has been squishing the life, and a few tears, out. I've been choking on my feelings, too, and all your gifts of thought have floated in at the perfect moment. I'm going to dance slowly tonight to the Fisherman's Waltz, then pick up the tempo a bit to a Whalebone Jig and by Sunday I'll be belly dancing with bells on. Cheers! and Hugs to you ALL! (That Jonah . . . bites off more than he can chew every time!)

Rebecca said...

Hey girl, I mean Jonah
So are you headed to Ninavah yet? God prepared that fish for Jonah...if I remember correctly Jonah was supposed to go to Ninavah but he decided to go in the opposite direction. Isn't it great how much the Lord loves us to send a fish so we get back on the right track. The Lord must have something else in mind for you right exciting.
Blessings to you and I will pray you get spat real soon, preferably on a tropical island with lots of warm sunshine
Love you sista

Dorthe said...

Dear KC,
this is a wonderfull post,
ofcourse we all have to fight, to be in a happy posission,to earn our living, to have good dayes ,more than bad ones, and naturally you too, dear friend.Thanks for writing all this, to let us know ,that no one ever can lean back, -that we have to fight every day,-some dayes more then others-
Wishing you a happy week-end.
Love and hugs, Dorthe

Cindy Forrester said... that...I love your encouraging words and insight, totally something I need to hear right now.
May these things get behind you and the blessings just rain down.
Have a great weekend!!


Rhonda said...

Beautifully said and so true. I too push the bad away, hopefully, I've learned something from it. If not, my upbringing and faith keeps me moving ahead for better days. The answer in my life has always been faith. Faith in our hearts, faith in each other and Faith in our maker. I'm smiling just thinking of that last sentence. So, thank you KC, you brought to our attention.

Anonymous said...

Hi KC,
Sorry to hear you were having such a bad week , as you say it can happen at any time to any of us . Glad you pulled yourself out of it , looking forward to a new week .
Love Lorraine x

Sandra said...

Oh lawz. Ain't it just the simple truth!? This week has been rough on so many folks; a lot of someones, somewhere, needed your post. Bless you!

Lorrie said...

I love the picture of "dancing in the belly of the whale." Yep, that's what I need to do, take charge of my own attitude.
Great post - may the whale cast you ashore soon!


Lee @ The Way I See It said...

((HUGS)) Sorry for your lousy week, but a great post nevertheless. It's always good to remember to come up for air, regroup, and get back to work. Good luck on those orders! And don't forget to dance.

PS- my word verification is "burst"= for me that means, burst with energy, burst with excitement, burst with success!

Anonymous said...
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Lorri said...

What a lovely uplifting post. Thank you. I have been having some JONAH MONTHS!! and finding it really hard to cope. Your words have uplifted me for now - xo

nancyk said...

hey kc,
we all needed to hear this from you. people always think that when artists are successful it happens by magic and they never know how very hard they work and all the ups and downs of business let alone making art that sells.
honesty about our lives helps each one of us know and understand that we are not alone.
and bye jonha, thanks for the reminder. !!!

KC Willis said...

Thank you all you wise and wonderful women! I have been sent ashore and back to work. I know that whale from the inside out now and he doesn't scare me one bit! Back on the road to Ninavah! God Speed and God Bless all who visit here. Love to you.

Cactus Creek said...

KC ~ Thank you for revealing your heart {as you always do} and showing the vulnerability that we are all feeling. I'm so glad that we're connected. Hugs to you and we'll chat this week... BIG love,fancy

Cheryl DeCristofaro said...


Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my FB page to check out your blog on Jonah days. I have been having Jonah days on and off since last July ever since my partner and I started working on a deal to buy a B&B in Asheville, NC. The latest delay left us completely broken emotionally, not to mention that all of our belongings are packed and ready to go! We are definitely in the belly of the whale. But as you said, it can't last forever. I am going to start dancing right now.

Thanks again for your words of inspiration!

Theresa said...

Oh m'gosh that was a great blog! I particularly like that phrase "Lead the Dance". I think I am going to make a collage out of that phrase.
Your work is so unique. I first saw it in a Tweety Jill book, and I was blown away by the combinations of materials you use. Thank you for being truthful.
Theresa @ Cottage Violets

Kiwi The Kreator said...

My first time visiting your blog...24 hours after kissing my Grandmother GOODBYE and feeling FRESH hurt...and I get an inspirational story...thank you...God TRULY knew that I needed it!!!! By the way, I am visiting because I'm KP Willis...just HAD TO see what the OTHER K Willis is like!!! Be blessed!

Deb said...

Man! Great post, Cowgirl!

Lord, we need to chat one of these days .. thinking of you.