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  • catherine stemper

The Upside of Limits

Hello everyone, today is the beginning of the 2nd week of my captivity indoors. I should say our captivity but when I look out my window, I see many people out and about. I understand how hard it is to embrace this new challenge of limiting our outings and contacts, our way of life.


However, I am getting myself through by knowing there will be a silver lining. That belief gets me through every obstacle I have ever encountered. I know that at the very least I will have learned a lesson from my trouble. Lemons to lemonade. Nothing new here, then why is it so hard?


I was watching one of my favorite interior design shows and the designer was talking about how she really likes the challenge of working within a clients small budget, because it makes her work her design muscles. If she could just go out and buy all the fabulous pieces she needed for a room, there would be no challenge.


I feel exactly the same way about my art. I use metals: silver, copper, brass, gold , steel.

I use very few colored stone beads and the colors I use are found in nature and also very limited, black, red, white. I do not use glass, or gem stones, ceramic, paper, or any other materials. My limited pallet forces my creativity. By staying within my limited materials, I create a language and style. I often come up with answers that are far more exciting and interesting than if I had used a more convenient material.


Living within a severe budget for a few years, while getting out of debt and buying a house, also taught me a valuable lessons about limits. We are stronger than we think. We can "do without" and "make do" a lot easier than advertisers would like you to believe. It was hard to say no to friends who wanted me to join them on outings, but if I explained to them I could not spend money, they would happily change the plans so we could all have fun. If I ran out of a pantry item before my budget would allow a trip to the store, I made up a replacement or just waited and learned I never needed that item anyway.


Pushing our boundaries is how we grow. Children know this and do it all day everyday, happily and eagerly, it's all new and it's all good. We often get lazy and settled in our ways as we grow up. Change becomes harder, as we have encountered failures and hardships. I say we let go of the burden of failure, enlighten ourselves with the newness of change. Every day we are given a new opportunity to change and grow. Embrace the change, turn within, and grow.

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