RealTalk #1: My Story About Art & Identity

Me, 2008, when I wore the title of ‘artist’ as a shield to the world.

Me, 2008, when I wore the title of ‘artist’ as a shield to the world.

I used to be the type of creative who wore the title of ‘artist’ as both a shield and an identity symbol. With representation at several top-notch galleries and numerous grant awards to my credit, I presented myself as the epitome of a successful, self-sufficient artist. Alongside the accolades I maintained a polished website and a small studio/gallery from which I generated exhibits (and p.r). with so much gusto that my artist friends dubbed me the “Postcard Queen”.

This, in the day when 4-color small business/self publishing was barely affordable, and artist websites were not yet norm.

But there was a problem:

My Inner World and My Outer World Were Not in Alignment.

For a long time, my inner world and outer world were not in alignment…eventually, I became creatively blocked.

For a long time, my inner world and outer world were not in alignment…eventually, I became creatively blocked.

On the outside I was a success. On the inside, I was a mess. Most of the time I was atrophied with overwhelming fear and anxiety; that was just on the surface. Underneath, I felt like I was less than others; I was deeply insecure. Artistic achievement was my form of compensation.

Eventually, I came to understand that I had used the artist identity as an excuse to not fit in. While at first it was a form of rebellion that allowed me to excel, ultimately it was borne from the deep pain of feeling different.

That, my friends, was not a sustainable or healthy work ethic. Nor did it make the creative process any fun. After about seven years of this dynamic, something happened: I hit a wall. I became blocked. Things that used to fuel me were no longer a form of inspiration. I was not surprised, but I was terrified: who would I be if I was not the working artist?

I Turned My Mess Into My Mission

Underneath and in spite of my mess, I could always hear my Deep Inner Wisdom. It said: You Matter. You’re Meant to Do Something. Believe In Yourself.

With a commitment to that voice that far outweighed my courage, I decided to transform my troubles into adventure. I set out to bridge the gap between my inner and outer worlds, and to redefine what it meant to me to be an artist.

(Learn how to bridge the gap in Module 3 of my online course, Open2Flow. For more info, click here).

What ensued was a grand adventure, to be sure—one that involves loss and loving again; tears and laughter; moving across the country three times (just me and my dog); buying a motorcycle; living at the nation’s largest yoga retreat facility for four months; and starting my career over more than twice. I completed my graduate degrees in art therapy and counseling, co-founded an economic development office, started a private art therapy practice, and….

The lessons I’ve learned (as well as my favorite breakthrough techniques) are shared in Open2Flow and my soon-to-be-released books and retreats.

Through a decade-long adventure involving expressive arts, yoga, and a connection with nature, I learned to face my shadow so that I could truly show up—in balance—and make a difference in the world.

Through a decade-long adventure involving expressive arts, yoga, and a connection with nature, I learned to face my shadow so that I could truly show up—in balance—and make a difference in the world.

I’m glad to say (and I say this tentatively, because the Universe has a way of delivering new challenges as soon as you think you’ve got things figured out) that I have finally resolved the contention between my true nature, my inner artist, and my professional self. I’ve come to understand that even though I love to be of service, art-making provides an equal and different form of joy. And, while both are expressions of who I am, neither one defines me.

Joy + Fulfillment: Be True to You

Shown at top: Fall Dress, from the series Entropy; Carnelian Necklace.

Shown at top: Fall Dress, from the series Entropy; Carnelian Necklace.

I have no idea why I get giddy around gemstones or why I think dead branches and cactus skeletons look like fancy gowns…but when I celebrate this and surrender to my artistic creativity, I experience my highest and simplest forms of joy.

Art therapy, coaching and teaching yoga are my acts of service to the world and provide the greatest personal fulfillment.

Some people say that being the artist IS a service to the world—and to this, I do not disagree. Yet, alongside making art I have always known the calling to make a difference by inspiring and helping others. That presented its own tension and imbalance: am I an artist or am I a helping professional?  If I focused on one, the absence of the other left me feeling hollow.

Now I understand that one does not exist independent of the other. Even though my coaching business involves creativity, in order to be spiritually clear and high-vibe enough to provide the best and strongest services, I must first be connected to and expressive of my artist-self.

Maintain Balance for Maximum Impact

In the years that I made effort to redefine my professional identity and to develop my practice as an art therapist, I denied my artist self. And what that meant to being of service was somewhat akin to making your way through a room with the lights out (not to mention I was often anxious or depressed). In order to be the best I can in providing services, I must have a sense of personal connection, joy and high vibe that is only achievable through making my own art. And I know for other creatives who want to make a difference doing ‘something else’, that same need for art/other balance is true.

A Place For Creative People Like Me and You

That’s why I developed Jodi Rose Studio, a place for creative Jedis just like me and you. I am offering up everything I’ve learned on my personal and professional journey, to help people who have a burning desire to make the world a better place through the use of their creativity—all while remaining connected to the inner artist. I am cultivating a supportive and encouraging community through which I can help you clarify your Big Creative Vision, develop a road map to see it through, and be held accountable to your plan. I will show you how to develop the freedom and courage to live as an expression of both your need to serve, and your need to create. And, in case you need reminding, I am here to tell you that your are NOT a misfit, your innovative dreams and ideas are NOT stupid, if you believe it you CAN achieve it, and you MUST listen to your creative source. I believe that you are meant to contribute something meaningful to the world. If you’re reading this, I bet you believe this on some level, too. So: let’s get together and make it happen!

Experience my favorite strategies for getting you out of the head and re-connected to your Creative Source! Insider Secrets to Increase Creative Flow is a unique fusion of expressive art making and relaxation techniques, and it will change your creative process forever! Sign up now for this FREE 14-page e-book:

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Jodi Gonzales ATR, NCC, RYT200. Jodi Rose is an artist, art therapist, author, yogi and coach whose mission is to empower creative people to achieve lasting personal change and breakthrough professional results. Using a unique evidence-based program informed by art therapy, positive psychology, neuroscience and yoga, Jodi shows her clients how to achieve peak performance, peace of mind, enhanced clarity, and improved creativity and focus. Jodi offers live and virtual presentations, group workshops, and retreat intensives. Follow Jodi Rose on Facebook Instagram or Linked In. For more information email support@jodirosestudio.com or https://jodirosestudio.com/.