Jul 30, 2008 | Life in Progress


sometimes it feels like i’m chasing my own freedom, swirling toward another version of myself, if only i would allow it to be.

the first thing i do when i awake is scan my inbox to make sure there isn’t an unhappy customer. if all is well: freedom. relief. on the rare occasion that there is an unhappy email, i immediately fix whatever has gone wrong – most often a shipping error. but every morning, again, and again, as if i’m feeding my own addiction, i peer into my inbox, half expecting to find an email with proof of how i’ve failed. it’s driving me mad, this anxious feeling of holding onto a perfection that doesn’t exist – the compulsion to find or expect self disappointment. yet i also know and fully accept that i am going to make mistakes. i am going to get upset emails every now and again. not everyone is going to love the book. not everyone thinks i’m the bees knees.

i’d really like to get to a place where i don’t carry all the worry in my chest. where i don’t always anticipate that something may go wrong. because here’s the truth: inside the reality of my daily life, mostly everything goes really well, yet in my heart i sometimes expect that a disaster is waiting for me just around the corner, that the world isn’t truly safe and i’d better watch out. i’ve been this way for years – often worrying that the marriage and life i’ve nurtured and grown into is simply too good to be true. sometimes, i can fully fall into the bliss. and sometimes, like this week, i wear the armor, ready for the sky that never falls. it’s a burden i don’t want to carry anymore. it’s a needlessness. a disguise. a dishonoring of spirit. i’d like to not wake up in the morning with the expectation that something horrible is lurking in my inbox. i’d like to wake up fully aware that all is going to be well, everyday. i’d like to wake up, even for a few moments, with a sincere freedom from perfection and worry. what does that feel like, i wonder?

it’s a reoccurring battle for me, this accepting of all the goodness of my life without the hint that danger may be closeby. i’m working on it…but sometimes, it’s exhausting. but i suppose it’s the human experience, no?

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (32 comments)
  1. vivian

    how i love what you do and your way of expressing yourself. thank you.

  2. melly~

    Hi Kelly,
    I can’t even wrap my mind around a response to your words except to say come sit by me. I’m right there with you.
    But I -had- to write and say how much I love this girlie. She stole my breath.
    You’re doing good things. Keep on keeping on.

  3. Beth Quinn

    Hi Kelly – i think your not alone in your fears … i too always think the worst and check my inbox for that one email where i did something wrong etc- funny how we do that to ourselves , but we put ourselves out there and no one is perfect ! so life is what it is and we continue to journey on – and PERSEVERE !! all you can do is live for the day and try to put our heart and soul into the moment of now –

  4. Anonymous

    Sweet soul,
    This is such a human thing and I know I, like so many other fabulous gals who have commented here, experience this on a daily basis.
    I’m reminded of the words of the magnificent SARK here:
    You are enough
    You have enough
    You do enough
    Such a simple view of our inner world, yet so hard to process sometimes!
    Seems to me that it makes good business sense to be receptive to people’s disatissfaction with the services you provide… but just remember that the shortcomings of the US Postal system will never reveal to you (or anyone else) fundamental truths about who you really are, the authenticity of your talent, the depth of your good intentions.
    You’re a beautiful person, an extremely talented artist and an inspiration in the way you embrace all life has to offer.
    You are/have/do more than enough. And THANK YOU for all you are/have/do.
    Much love, Kat from Melbourne

  5. angelique

    It’s so funny I’m reading this today. My sister dropped off a cd case with stuff for me to listen to. I thought she was leaving me 2 or three cds. Inside is The New Earth, The Power of Now, a LOT of cds on the law of attraction and several affirmation and meditation cds. (I guess I’m a bit of a basket case because there has to be at least 30 disks in this thing!) I’m in a bit of a negative funk with my job and what I want out of this life. I’ll have to share Supria’s comment about worry being negative prayer with my sister, she’ll like that. So you see, judging from all of these posts, you’re in good company πŸ™‚ And you are the bees knees!!!

  6. Heather

    Oh, how I understand. I used to work at a small town newspaper where every spelling or gramatical error went out 6 days a week and every cranky granny was ready to tell you about it…I used to dread that red blinking message light on my phone.
    But it makes you stronger and thickens your skin! You are talented and so blessed. Sometimes you just have to take a breath and count your blessings.

  7. dori

    I agree with Deborah & Supria. I make a deliberate choice to begin my day by not to engaging with technology of any form (computer, TV, radio, etc.) until after I have had a nice dose of the natural world. For me that is walking my dog by the Bay or doing yoga. It puts my life into a wonderful perspective for the day and grounds me so I feel like I can take on any problems that the day may hold.

    Then when I feel myself beginning to worry, I turn that exact worry into a positive mantra. So instead of fretting about having an irritated customer, I would say to myself, "May all my customers get what they need." That also turns the problem over to a higher power. Because I also don't claim to know what another person needs. Perhaps that irritated customer is working on learning a lesson of her own, like patience or non-judgement and when they interact with you and the love that put into every order they have a realization of their own.

    I also remember the wise words of my aunt who said "Worry is like praying for something bad to happen."

    You really do deserve the wonderful life that you have worked for. We all deserve to be happy and fulfilled. There is nothing selfish about resting in that knowledge and releasing your worries. In fact when we know this we are honoring the universe that agreed with our wishes and manifested the sweet life that we are living.

  8. Chandra Thomason

    Hi Kelly Rae,
    I too struggle with waiting for bad things or bad times to happen, especially when everything is going well for me. How i’ve learned to deal with this is to remind myself that no matter what happens, I will be ok. The Universe wants us to be happy and live wonderful lives, and there is nothing that can happen that I will not get through, somehow. I guess it’s a matter of trusting myself and the Universe, and just life itself. I believe that everything–EVERYTHING–that comes our way does so in order to further our learning and spiritual growth, and when ya look at it that way, it’s all good. I do agree with the person who suggested you start your day on a more posive note, though…no one expects you to be checking your email for complaints first thing in the morning, and if someone does expect that then you don’t need them anyway! HUGS

  9. kellyrae

    you guys are so lovely. a change in mourning routine is a great idea, deborah. and thinking of this worry as a ‘negative prayer’ hit hard, supria.

  10. Anonymous

    Hi Kelly
    It is such a shame that you feel this worry .Try to think of it like this if it has happened it has happened and there is nothing you can do about it, but put it right.Don’t worry about what might happen , as it rarely ever does .You are such a sweet person , that i am sure if an error is made you will be forgiven after all we all make mistakes , surely the mistakes you could make are not the end of this world .Life is too short to worry , enjoy …….
    You have so much going for you , a fantastic artist , new book etc……What will be will be , so stop the worrying, if it happenes it happens.I know it’s hard but give it a go.
    Your art is so inspiring …Congratulations on the publishing of your first book.
    Love Lorraine xx

  11. Bikky

    Human – I think so – I hope so, because you have described a feeling I know that I have experienced too. I think that you are leaps ahead of where you may think, simply because of your ability to write so honestly about how it is you feel. Awareness is sometimes half the battle.

    If I may, please excuse the cliche, but:”Don’t worry Be Happy”! . . . And eternally grateful for all the good in your life. And thank you for being a shining ray of hope and happiness for so many of us.

  12. Heather,

    you have received so many insightful and thought-provoking comments that is was a wonderful experience to not only read your post, but what others said too.
    xo heather

  13. Deborah Truesdell


    If it were me, I think I would need to change my routine a bit! Your life is very blessed and full of wonderful people, things and experiences. Maybe you should make the first thing you do be to acknowledge the blessings in your life which have been given to you in such abundance. If you get to your inbox later in the day and find an unhappy situation, it just gives you the chance to put your excellent problem solving skills to use!

    At this point, waiting for your book feels like Thanksgiving. We can all smell the turkey cooking in the kitchen and it is making our mouths water with anticipation!

    Hugs to you,

  14. odd chick

    To have someone put into words the nagging fear that I tuck away carefully in the back of my brain- never to admit to – until there it is in broad sight – well, I appreciate it sort of… if you know what I mean. My life has been so so blessed and I’m so happy that I’ve been certain that the sky will fall. It makes me want to live in the moment and make every moment count but good gracious- living so well everyday.. it’s like survivor guilt or something.

  15. Christianne

    it really is exhausting. i truly get that. i just finished writing a mini-book thesis project that is an autobiography of imperfection, about how the beauty is found in allowing ourselves to receive the grace of being ourselves and fully known as we are. it was so healing to write it because it reminded me of what i want to live my life under and what i have been learning to be freed from.

  16. Rowena

    Holy Cow, yes.

    I struggle with this, too.

    I think it is a normal state for humans and especially for artist, who are always putting their insides on view for the world. It helps me to know, sometimes that I am not the only one and that this is part of the process. And things always go wrong, yet we are strong enough to deal with the results.

  17. Davielle

    Wow, Kelly Rae, you sure hit MY nail on the head with your 7/29 blog posting. My life has been full to the brim with worry and anxiety – it’s not WILL something go wrong, in my mixed-up thoughts … it’s WHEN will it go wrong and HOW BAD will it be?! Isn’t that crazy? I can tell you this: it is crazy-making, that’s for sure. Your word, POSSIBILITARIAN, speaks volumes, though, Kelly Rae — you DO have what it takes to turn that thinking around. I’m new to your blogspot and I love everything I see. Keep on keeping on – you rock, girl. — Davielle from So Cal

  18. Jennifer

    I think that yes, it is the human experience. It is what it is. And as a part of that expereince, your experience, it seems great that you recognize what happens for you and that you try to do it differently, when you can. It’s all good, either way- but tough sometimes for sure πŸ™‚

  19. Deirdre

    I struggle with this all the time too. Especially right now caring for my parents. Every time the phone rings, every morning, during every bit of quiet time, I worry a disaster is happening and I won’t be able to fix it. It’s such a thief of joy.

    On a professional note, I learned a long time ago that it’s not my job to please everyone. It’s an impossible task. I’ve even talked myself into believing it would be a terrible if I pleased everyone. It helps me let go of the fear that someone might be less than thrilled with me. As a result I lie awake worrying about work far less than I used to.

  20. Anonymous

    I used to feel this way… But then I read Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” and it was eye opening for me. Not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, but living in the present. How our thoughts can take over, and how we are not defined but our thoughts. And reading about the law of attraction has also made me see things differently. I hope you can over come this demon. The authentic positive thoughts are what will keep you going. Do not let these other bad thoughts create your destiny. Create a vision board too. It is a lot of fun and a reminder of what you are grateful for, and what you you hope to someday be.

  21. Anonymous

    last night i watched a show about randy pausch, the carnegie-mellon professor who gave the incredible “last lecture” full of wisdom before and perhaps gained from the knowledge that he would soon pass on from cancer. his wife, jay, said her mantra to help bring some comfort and peace during this hard time and said also to help her break a bad habit is a simple phrase: “not helpful”.

    mine may sound rather judgemental and egotistical, but it comes from my shaky self-esteem and the excrutiating awareness of some big mistakes i have made in my life. when i am on a healthy path and make better choices, i say over and over to myself “good girl” and “you deserve this. you have earned this.” that and i pray to God and try to follow His words.

    may you be blessed with peace of mind and peace of heart and good health (including about that leg numbness).

    from someone who admires your open heart and words and art

  22. DeniseLynn

    Oh love love love that painting. the background is yummy. oh yes, the ups and downs of life. life is all so curious and both the ups and the downs make it all that more exciting to live it through and through. i adore how you share that heart of yours. you are famous and i am not and yet we have much in common when it comes to emotions.

  23. BigCat

    I think it is the human condition. I’m not sure why we have this innate expectation of failure and disappointment. It would be great to overcome it.

  24. lisa {milkshake}

    I think many, many artists feel this way. I know I do, and wish that I felt differently. Once those negative thoughts get going in my head, it’s really hard to stop them. But then I have days when everything is great and the world is wonderful. Wish those days happened more often!

  25. Supria

    Hi Kelly:
    Funny you would write about this …as today I have also been thinking about my tendency to ‘worry’ about the future, about what could be…about how lovely life is right now…but what of the future….then I STOP myself…and remember the “Power of Now” teachings by Ekhart Tolle and see that big STOP SIGN in my mind’s eye and realize as my lovely wise friend said, “worry is negative prayer” and I bring myself back to this moment…and let go of what I do not know or can not control…my tomorrow…it is such a HARD PRACTICE to keep fresh and true…but that is normal and okay…we just bring ourselves back to enjoying and relishing the moment ….time and time again..even when the habitual nature is to take us into the future, the worry, the wonder?
    All the best in keeping in the moment…I love how you share so freely and naturally it means a lot to me and I am sure to many of your readers.

  26. justagirl

    Hey Kelly Rae

    I am the opposite to you there, I think only good will happen, and like this weekend, I felt very let down that my car decided to stop in the middle of the road… but then of course it was a nice AA man that came to help me.

    It is a funny thing and I have never really thought about it but I pretty much expect good things to happen. I kind of think there is no point worrying about something that might not happen and if it does I will deal with it then.

    I am hopeing my copy of the book doesn’t arrive till late august as it is a birthday present from my mum and I don’t want to have it arrive and have to wait too long to open it… as long as it is by 6th September though.

  27. Marilyn Rock

    I find that when things are going well, for me personally, I am awaiting when the axe is going to fall. When I’m in a time when things are going badly, when I do get to good stuff – WOW! I appreciate it when it comes. I do think a lot of this, kind of thinking, is a very natural pattern. Stay strong!

  28. Anonymous

    I think there is a bit of this in me, too. The whispers of “no, the joy is not to be forever” and then I allow something small to take away the grip of pride and confidence. Where does it come from? I want to go there and scream it away. Maybe it’s a frightened four year old inside of my soul that still thinks she’s not good enough to feel good. I am sad for her and get even more heartbroken when the 34 year old me thinks the same way. I need reminders of all that I am capable of. Sometimes they come from those around me that I love dearly, or nature, or random places. I hope I am open to the reminders today. ~ emilyt

  29. Belinda

    Hi Reading this I felt like you were talking about me. I’m not successful like you are (and you are πŸ™‚ ) but I feel this way too. I am starting my own art group in my home town and I’m waiting every second for it to fail but know I should be thinking its going to do great. I envy positive thinkers and wish I could be more like them. Think positive Kelly you are one of the people I admire. Belinda

  30. [Charlene]

    I think that bad habits of thinking are a real challenge along the road to becoming the person you want to be. I’m struggling with that a bit myself today. I’ve found some simple statements I can repeat to myself that really help to unhook me from the issue. One of mine today: “As I come closer to being the person I want to be, of course the things that don’t match will fall away to make room for the things that do match.” It’s wordy, but it keeps me focused on why things are falling apart in my world (and why it is a good thing). May you find some words that soothe your heart that you can use to calm yourself back into a happy, joyful space.

  31. kellyrae

    hi rella,
    soon, yes, soon! see the recent entry about book faq’s. books will arrive in august – so soon!

  32. * mY fRiEnDs cALL mE Rella *

    Sometimes we can be so good to everyone else and forget to be good and understanding and loving to ourselves. Such a journey.

    When oh when, dear Kelly, do the books actually come? It seems like forever ago it all began……and then they could be preordered…I never even marked down when to expect the book I was so excited. Soon?

    xo Rella


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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