I started writing this blog in my newsletter, when I realised it was going to be way too long for an email. So voila, a newsletter blog. 🙂 I really just wanted to reach to you today and share my thoughts.

I’ve been working hard lately, to get more of my art school curriculum going after my recent depressive episode. So lots of planning, recording, editing and building. I flip a switch and go into Bob-the-Builder-mode. 

And then…I suddenly felt lonely. Disconnected, if you will. I was looking at my customer reports and I wondered, who is this person? What are they doing right now? What do they like, dislike, feel good/bad about and so on.

Most of the time I have a pretty decent balance between being in touch with you, and being alone. It allows me to be open, and speak to you sincerely and from my heart. But every now and then that scale needs a bit of recalibrating. 

See, the thing that bothered me the most about my previous work, was the lack of human contact. For someone like me, with pretty extensive social anxiety, that was a weird thing to admit. It’s not that I wanted to see or speak to people every day, but I needed to know that who ever was on the other side of an order or an invoice, was human. And that they know, that I am also human. That we have lives, and histories, and that we make mistakes and behave awkwardly at times while navigating the world. 

The tendency to see clients, customers, business associates, as numbers rather than actual human beings is probably to protect ourselves. We learn that we shouldn’t let our emotions dictate our work. That business is business. You’ve probably heard one or all of these dead beat arguments at some point in your life, on how you need to toughen up in order to get things done.

I tried, I burned out, and concluded that wasn’t working for me. I can’t look at newsletters that I’ve sent out and be content with a 68% click rate if I don’t support what is in that newsletter. That might sound obvious at first sight, but I’ve found the devil is still in the details and it’s important that I check myself all the time. Sales based on yearly celebrations, is one of those things that got me thinking again this year.

At the beginning of the year, I made a planning and for the month of May it said “Mother’s Day Sale”. And in my production mindset, I started working on that sale when – again – I looked at a long list of humans who are part of my community. Maybe some of you said goodbye to your mother. Maybe some of you don’t or can’t speak to her. And maybe some of you can’t or won’t be mothers. The point is that for a moment I lost touch with why I started all this; to build a business based on human connection. To look past the things you’re supposed to do or required to do. I lost it and at the same time it took only a little bit of effort to get it back. Progress, isn’t it?

All of it got me thinking about our individual responses to content created for the masses. There are loads of people happy with a sale or discount, especially when money is tight. But are they happy with the sale, or specifically happy with a Mother’s Day Sale? I would argue that the latter isn’t valid for anyone. No one would pass up a sale thinking: “Nah, I prefer Mother’s Day, I’ll just wait until that sale comes along”. 

It’s also far too easy to say; well, anything will be hurtful or offensive in some way to someone out there. 

Or turn it around and state; if I can’t say this then what can I say these days? 

You really only need a dash of Socrates to invalidate those statements.

The more interesting question would be; how can I be happy about something that might trigger pain in another human being? How can my happiness exist next to your pain? And how can both be validated without taking away from the other?

So those are things that occupied my mind while I was preparing for yet another sale. And I feel more alive because of it, I really do. I’d love to know what you think about the questions I posed and this topic in general, so please leave a comment. If my mother taught me anything, it’s that mental growth never ends. It’s always time to learn and gain new insight. And to honour that lesson, I’d like to share this artwork I did back in 2018 before I sign off. There is also a (very crappy lol) time lapse available on my Youtube channel.

No full-blown sale announcement here, but a coupon code to give those of you who need it, 15% off for the rest of the week. You can enter it at checkout and it works on all my stuff: HUMANNATURE2022

Comments are moderated so they might take a little while to show up. 

18 thoughts on “Mother”

  1. Sabra, every time I read something of yours, I know our paths were meant to cross!! We don’t go thorough it necessarily at the same time but when you write of your experience, I am moved to think, she gets me. She really understands. I hate that you go through it at all but just knowing I am not alone calms the soul, you know? I NEED to do another class of yours. I feel like I am hanging out with a beloved talented friend who I get to learn A LOT from!! XO Dani

  2. Jeanne Elliott

    Hi, Sabra! First to your point about a Mother’s Day sale. My mom has been gone 1 1/2 years now. She was 94, had a good long happy life and some dementia at the end. I still miss her and I am SAD, but on the other hand, I know it was a blessing as being a nurse and very independent person all her life, she would have HATED that she had to be in memory care, had she realized. When you mentioned Mother’s Day and how things trigger people, it all came back again. Now, I am NOT triggered or offended– but your comments made me think about it. Yes, perhaps in view of all the things you mentioned, it is best to avoid such labels in case it does cause someone hurt and anxiety for any reason. However, also as you say, it is very hard to say ANYTHING anymore with totally innocuous intent that someone can not be offended by. I sure hope that soon we as humankind can arrive at a more generous and kind view of others and their ‘mistakes’ or ‘insensitivity’. I honestly believe that we are ALL in kind of a sad depressed place in view of the world situation. I am having trouble getting started in my art. I even have one of your classes I have never started– but I will sometime. Sooo– just my musings in return. Hope the weather there is GRAND where you are and you can get out in the sun and have your spirits lifted. That is my plan!!! HUGS!!

  3. Your words were very thought provoking for me and I thought it might be a little useful to leave you a snippet about where they took my thoughts. To state it as factually as I can, my mother was a full blown narcissist and tore me down her whole life. Her last words to me….a little while before she died……were that I had no life of any worth to speak of, presumably because I declined to live with her. I did not go back to visit again and did not attend her funeral. Now retired and with art in my life every single day, I am happier than I have ever been.
    The relevance to what you said is this: Mothers Day is a holiday that has existed for a long time. It was without importance in my coming to terms with what happened to me. And now that I have come to terms with it, any ads I see, any sales offered etc. really do not affect me at all. They are a completely separate entity from what happened to me. So….no pain triggered at all. I also want to point out from the position of my advanced years that this does seem to be how the world exists at any given point in time…..there are always some people happy, some in pain, and some in a state of limbo and it changes all the time. You could not fix all of it if you wanted to, nor probably should you….other people’s growth etc. Of course this is just one person’s take on this, and others may be totally different…..but I thought it might be helpful. I always love your thoughtful observations and look forward to many more.

  4. To be honest, I don’t understand the whole concept of Mother’s Day sales.
    Why does one have to BUY stuff to show appreciation?
    Do chores, cook dinner, go for a nice walk together.
    Giving/receiving gifts is just one of the love languages, and if that’s the one your mom has, make her something.
    But how about acts of service? And quality time?
    I feel a lot of mothers would also love just having a day off, and some much needed me-time..
    Money can’t buy appreciation, but putting in the effort shows a lot.

    And being considerate and thinking about others is a good thing, it’s called empathy and more people should try it 😉

  5. Dear Sabra, i am always amazed how you words aligned with me so much (your sense of humor as well)
    First, i want to express my huge desire to be a part of a community lead by someone like you. Since the pandemic, it became even harder to find and artists work mostly alone.
    I love you commentary on the artsy process and emotional process and woul love to have more of that.
    From what i read, we experience similar struggles in life, and much like you, i am craving more human contact with like minded people.
    As for mothers day or any other “holiday”, i dont live by them almost at all. I live the best i can each and every day, i dont like to be happy or sad by an exterior point in time, mostly i dont celebrate those thing, i celebrate good feeling, good times and being well, my people and me.
    I am tight with money, but will invest in things that makes me happy in moderation.
    Right now, i am working hard on pencil drawing of portrait s, i can even think about paint .
    Thank you so much for reaching out, if you ever create a community with your own special voice, i would like to be a part of it. I am a part of your FB group, i was thinking of a community like in Patreon or your website, some kind of subscription, that allows learning and communicating. Actualy i have tried doing it myself, but felt very lonely for not being able to gather people. Stay safe, you are a special person ❤️i will not go back and check spelling/typing mistakes, i am sure there are a lot, i dont want to edit my response to your mail. Love you, Irit

  6. My mother thought Mothers Day was a consumer rip-off! My father thought the same way about Fathers Day. We were never brought up to hold those days in some sort of reverence, although we would make a phone call or hand over a card so they could tell their friends that their children had been in touch. We did visit our parents every week for dinner so perhaps that was more substantial acknowledgement of our love and affection! Personally, I’m happy to take advantage of any sale at all if I want that product and can afford that product at the time it’s offered.

  7. Maxine Schutter

    I totally understand you and feel much the same. I think the best thing to do for people like us is to lighten up a little. Lighten up a lot. Sending sweeps of love and lightness your way. 💛

  8. Wendy Holmgren

    I love that you are sharing your feelings and thoughts. That seems honest to me and that builds familiarity and trust which attracts buyers- something like that. Keep going!

  9. Louise Ducharme

    Hello Sabra,
    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and enjoy the beautiful work of your mother.
    Pain and joy are part of each human life, and triggers as well; I believe that you cannot hold yourself responsible for the complexities of each human life but your sensitive awareness is commendable.
    I especially feel valued as a client that you reach out. I love your classes and your way of working…it inspires me. I have a course that is incomplete at this time, but it has already served in the development of my work…the reason why I love to learn from other artist techniques and styles.

  10. Dear Sabra,
    I’m very grateful to have ‘crossed paths’ with you in this peculiar virtual world.
    Your willingness to share and reveal your personal vulnerabilities has, time and again, managed to ‘cut through’ so much that, for me, seems indifferent, impersonal and uncaring in this world.
    I don’t know if I have a hope of getting back to my art work or progressing it in any way.
    Facing the internal nay sayer is hard. I need all the help I can get.
    No matter the occasion or prompt, your inclination to reach out is valued by me.
    Thank you. And, dare I say it, love to you on M day.
    x Lee

  11. First of all, I say BRAVA to you for reaching out to form deeper more meaningful relationships. I believe Introverts as well as Extroverts need relationships to develop a deeper meaning and understanding of life. It is in relationships that we bump into our own shadow side. It is through Love (of all types) that we find meaning in Life. I cannot imagine a better way for one to pull themselves out of depression than to reach out as you have. . On the subject of Mothers Day, I think we could benefit from enlarging our concept of “Mother” to include those who “mother” and nurture others. One of my beloved DILs raised her niece from preteen age through college, continuing to support and advise her many years into her niece’s adulthood. I consider her as much of a mother as I am, and I am an 85 year old mother who was sole source of support for my 4 small children for 20 years. I’m now a blessed grandmother of 8 and great grandmother of two.
    Wishing you a very Happy Day as you bring Life to all of the artists you teach, nurture and support.

  12. Hi Sabra, every time I read how you are feeling, what you are thinking and what life circumstances you are going through, I want to give you a big hug.
    On the subject of one is great for the other is offensive I would like to say: You can not make it in life for all equally right.
    There will always be people who feel “offended” by words or deeds. But if you can reach just one person through your words and actions, that’s worth more than maybe “offending” 10 others.
    Your honest way of revealing your feelings touches me every time anew.

    Many Love and Hugs

    Translated with (free version)

  13. Hi Sabra, I’m here! While scrolling and coming across your post, I got excited. I’m in a bit of a funk so that’s the little jolt I needed. Your post make a difference for me and I look forward to reading what you have to say and I crave your artwork. My funk is due to being limited from shoulder surgery for 6 months and coming out from winter. Things are turning around. Thanks for showing up 💜💙❤️🧡💛💙

  14. Thank you for sharing Sabra. Good to be real and know people are alive with their thoughts and feelings. it’s not right or wrong, it’s awareness and being real.

  15. Honestly, while I took advantage of the Mother’s Day sales for a few artists I liked whose classes I couldn’t afford otherwise, I actually probably couldn’t afford them anyway but got them largely to distract myself because Mother’s Day is a really hard time for me. So whenever I see something that’s just a sale that happens to coincide with a holiday like this, I really appreciate it, because then I figure the person having the sale and anyone buying something can still have it be a Mother’s Day thing for them in their heads, but I don’t have to think about it.

    At the same time, I don’t want to steal anyone’s joy, and especially if there’s a really specific reason why a holiday feels meaningful to someone and they want to have a sale because of it, my emotions are not what is important in that equation.

    But I really appreciate what you’re doing here, as I have the small but growing number of businesses who have sent an email asking customers if they want to opt out from Mother’s Day specifically, but still say on the mailing list, since being inundated with Mother’s Day stuff is literally the stuff of nightmares for me. If it’s something I can afford and definitely if it’s something that I would be buying some version of anyway, I will almost always look for those companies first, because I don’t think the kind of consideration that it takes to do an email like that or to write a post like the one you have here is the norm at all, and I want to express my appreciation when I can. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to just buy things on principle all the time, but I do try.

    Depending on some medical things that I’m dealing with this week, I would love to buy one of your courses under that same principle. Human connection is something that I feel is essential to my soul but also has been unfortunately scarce since my mother passed away, the pandemic started, and a bunch of other aspects of my life exploded all with him much too small a time frame. So what you were saying here really resonated with me, and I was touched by your sentiments. Thank you for being a human being who values things that I value to, and for taking the time to articulate that and take actions in line with those values, etc. It really means a lot.

    There are a lot of people in the world who seem to think we should all just be fine, or if we’re not, that we should put on a smile and pretend for other people sake. It is remarkably hard to maintain relationships with people when you can’t maintain cheerfulness. Same thing with Art; I know a lot of people who only like whimsical art with rainbows, and I like that stuff too, but my stuff is moodier and sometimes I’m not sure whether or not to even show stuff to people. I actually got your class on painting emotional portraits quite a while ago (I forget the exact title, apologies), but I’ve been waiting to dive in till my skills are a little bit more settled. I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful, though.

    Anyway, I’m sorry this is long-winded. I’ve always talked a lot, but I have to say the weirdest after-effect of my life exploding has been that whenever I start talking, it feels like words just pour out of me and I can’t stop. I’m hoping that as I make more and more art, that is where the emotions will start pouring out and maybe the words will not take over quite so often.

    Thank you so much for the lovely post, and I hope you are well and enjoying whatever art you’re making today.

  16. I like you. I like your honesty. I like your vulnerability. I like that you say it as it is. I like your artwork. And I look forward to hearing more from you. Better late than never.

  17. Dear Sabra,

    Your expressions here are honest and contain great empathy. I believe we are all looking for connections -partly due to being torn apart by the pandemic, but in a longer view of society becoming less tribal and less human each year. We are tribal by nature, yet we isolate ourselves and connect more virtually now than presently. Presence, in all its various interpretations, is the answer to connections of all types.
    The Socrates’ statement that you posted is on-point. We are all interconnected. Our actions affect each other, but it begs the inclusion of intent and presence. If we hurt someone’s feelings without intent, they will still hurt. However, your presence with them provides comfort. All feelings are human- not just the happy ones. When something triggers me (especially if it’s done unintentionally), it’s a gift of human emotion that invites me to look inward and find that place/event that feels the pain. I can choose to do some introspection and bring light to it in an attempt to release my own suffering or not. Although we are all connected and interconnected, we are also individual humans, who are here to feel, learn and grow. Your honesty and empathy are the kindnesses that our society needs more of. There is no way that anyone can live without inadvertently triggering another’s internal conflicts. We can only do our best by trying to be mindful, kind, and present.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

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