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How to Reframe Your Problems

Photography by Joshua Rawson-Harris

There are problems and then there are problems.

The big ones are fierce, ugly, life-threatening, and gut-wrenching. The rest are created (and nurtured) in our heads.

I know this personally. I have sat in the belly of the whale for years not working on skills I wanted to learn, books I wanted to write, damaging relationships that needed to end, ways to become financially independent, and dreams that yearned for attention. Ironically, I was successful at the really big problems that endangered my physical and mental survival and I was good at solving other people’s problems.

Yet I found dozens of reasons not to accomplish many things I held dear: I was unworthy, I was too old, I was a fake, there wasn’t enough time, no one would care, I lacked training, money, time, and connections. The list went on ad nauseam. 

Recently I have been complaining about the massive learning curve and budget required for website marketing and SEO of my new site JustJinx.com. I hadn’t owned the fact that it would take more time, energy, and skill than creating hundreds of art pieces. I whined and groaned inside. Oh, woe is me!

I thought I had solved a problem by creating an imaginative way to raise money to assist those in need of assistance and recognition.

I wanted to believe that I had created a website selling printable art as a rational decision. This was not true. I made an emotional decision and then created a rational explanation to justify it. Most of us do this. My goal is to learn to make decent art available at affordable prices and donate part of the proceeds to the Living Arts Corporation to assist those that I know who are truly struggling as a result of the pandemic.

If my goal was to help people, I had better create better feelings.

Finally, I had a chat with my lonesome self and owned the truth about my problems. 

We solve one problem only to exchange it for another problem.

And this, dear reader, is a good thing. 

All human activity boils down to this: we trade one set of problems for another. Problems are simply a component and attribute of life. Problems hold the promise of moving us forward.  There will always be problems, obstacles, complications, and struggles.

Each time we solve one we get to welcome a new direction with different problems. 

Our problems become our possibilities. 

May we all be pregnant with possibility.  

Jinx Davis is an actress, artist, and entrepreneur. During the Covid pandemic, she created hundreds of paintings that she turned into printable art to help support the Living Arts Corporation.

Sitting with Pain

Photo by Haley Kean

Most of us don’t know what to do with our own pain and rarely do me know how to support others in their pain and grief.  Pain is not to be ignored. It is not to be consoled with platitudes that somehow all will pass.

Pain is pain. It only asks that you sit with it.

There is a lot of pain out there in this nanosecond of earth’s history. Pandemics, starvations, genocides, climate change, conflicts, deaths, fear, inequality, oppression, and huge losses of income surround us. Uncertainty hangs in the air.

My inbox and social media messages are full of it. My mind wants to fix it and I know I cannot.  The coffers of my limited income or my non-profit charity cannot solve the life-threatening problems facing even the people I know, not to mention those that I will never know.

I try. Often, I fail. I create art in the hopes that it will be purchased and I will have money to feed the dire needs of those in my tiny sphere.  I listen to grief daily and balance it with laughter and cheer.  I say too much or I say the wrong thing.  I have to remind myself daily that my task is not to erase the pain of another but to sit with the pain with them.

Sitting with our personal pain or that of another is radical. It doesn’t allow us hackneyed sayings or the banality of sentimental Hallmark cards. It doesn’t give a damn about inspirational posters or Facebook posts. 

Yes. I will continue to do whatever I can to feed, shelter, and assist those that cross my path.  Yes. I will continue to work at partnering with others who recognize the pain and do not ignore it. And yes, I will continue to create whatever I can to balance the pain with art in all of its forms. 

Art remains a powerful tool to let us gaze at someone else’s mind and discover the places where we are the same and the even richer places where we are different.

Sit with pain. Create. Savor what others create. It allows pain to experience the comfort of a mate. We all need mates, even if we never know their names.

 

Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.

Anthony Bourdain, The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

Jinx Davis is an actress, artist, and entrepreneur. During the Covid pandemic, she created hundreds of paintings that she turned into printable art to help support the Living Arts Corporation.

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