I found out last week that I was not selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s Next Step Fund grant that I applied for in March.
Granted, the program director told me that there were nearly 400 applications and only 9% of those would be awarded funding, as if to alleviate any disappointed.
But I was disappointed. That grant would have allowed me the support to do so much…to invest in this blog, in my development as an artist. I felt inspired. I was ready.
So, so ready.
So, why not this? Why not now?
Admittedly, I had a little crisis of faith last week with this. I bowed to my frustration and told a friend at work that it seems like every time I try to make strides in a particular direction, to advance my art or my life somehow, it just doesn’t come together.
What the hell??!?
Disappointment was there for me, because I expected a different outcome. I was sure that my sense of timing was right. That the serendipitous way I found out about the grant must have meant it was mine if only I showed up and did my part.
Which I did.
Although at the time I wrote how glad I was to have taken the risk, to have done my part by putting something out there and that the outcome didn’t matter, I was surprised to learn that I wasn’t chosen. Angry even.
And it was good to feel it.
As I mentioned yesterday, to feel the full realm of our feelings, is a good thing, if not exceptionally difficult. Learning how to keep from closing down to our feelings and emotion, learning to accept what is in our lives opens the door to experiencing every possible joy.
If we close the door on the things we don’t want to feel, we close off the flow of our feelings completely. We inadvertently close off the flow of the good stuff as well.
It all comes from the same place.
To be vulnerable is to accept how much we care, how much we love, how much we may want to grow and change and develop, and to positively influence our lives and the lives of others.
What could be so bad about that?
Nothing, until we also realize that to be vulnerable is to admit how little we have control over.
To admit how much we have to lose.
And that’s the crux. We try so hard to keep ourselves — or others — from being disappointed that we stop trying, stop admitting that we care to protect ourselves. We stop taking risks. We give up in our relationships, we give up in our lives. We shut down from fear of actually having to face how impermanent this crazy life is, sure that once we do we couldn’t possibly carry on anyway.
It would just hurt too much.
And so we live cut off from our hearts. Which is pretty much like not being alive anyhow.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live. Fully.
So you’re dang right I’m disappointed about the grant. And that’s OK. Because it just assures me of my passion. Maybe I don’t need the grant to do what I want to do. Maybe now is not the right time.
OK, so I’m a little preoccupied at the moment…
Maybe I need more time to explore my options. Or maybe the blog is just groovy the way it is.
What matters is that this experience is another opportunity for me to choose vulnerability. To choose to accept what is, knowing that I took a risk and gave it a shot. To choose to live from my whole heart, feeling what I feel and trusting that I’m safe and my world will not come to an end for having done so.
Perhaps that’s what life is, after all. A series of experiences, of opportunities, to choose our hearts time after reckless time in the face of all the forces — internal and external — that tell us not to.
What are you being asked to open your heart to today?
Enjoy your Sunday. And thanks for reading!//