“Soul work is the best use of your passions and purpose.”
I’ve studied people who love their work to develop the Donnellan Method over the last twenty-three years. My findings are the foundation of our programs. Part of that qualitative research took place while I lived in Taos, NM. Taos is well-known for its natural beauty, the diversity of its people, and the fact that one in seven residents is a working artist. That adds up to a lot of people living their genius and doing what they love for work! The lessons I’ve learned from interviewing these artists, as well as others who’ve found their spiritual home in the world of work, are integral to how I developed our process — and why it continues to help people from all walks of life discover what they were born to do.
After years of studying people from all over the world, I settled in Sag Harbor, NY over three years ago. This is another naturally beautiful town that also has a large population of artists, entrepreneurs, and retired New Yorkers from a variety of industries. In July and August, Sag Harbor is a tourist town overrun with celebrities, people who moor their yachts along the coast, and other assorted (and often, overdressed) city.
However, for the other ten months, we are a simpler town with extraordinary art, food, sunrises, and sunsets. This attracts a year-round population that I’m beginning to know well through potlucks, art events, cafes, support groups, and Sunday gatherings at New Thought Spiritual Center in Watermill. The people I’ve met have inspired me to return to interviewing those who love their work, both here in my new town and around the world. These new friends and former clients inform our coursework offerings and compassionate coaching structure.
This post is about my friend Jackie Fuchs I met while eating an amazing blueberry scone at my favorite café, Harbor Market Kitchen. It’s been my honor to witness her process. In the last 90 days, Jackie has created 90 paintings and has sold 16! She is a long time Sag Harbor resident. My hope is that her story will inspire you to dig deeper, live louder, and trust that you have a calling, even if you have no idea what that is, yet.
Jackie is an artist, mom, entrepreneur, hair stylist, and colorist. Her life story includes ups, downs, and heartbreak. But that’s her story to tell. My role here is to tell you about this recent miracle period in her life. It demonstrates how to follow a new path, even if the route doesn’t make rational sense at first.
Although Jackie’s history includes a degree in art education, she never enjoyed painting and drawing; it wasn’t her thing. That all changed about three months ago. Out of nowhere, she started playing around with some art supplies lying around her home. She gathered a photo of her sculpture on canvas, some leftover wall paint, a red marker and some colored pencils. These items became her first painting. She continued to follow the call to create and a new career chapter as a painter and collagist was birthed. This new work started with architectural shapes, which she referred to as ‘panels’. Jackie’s painting technique requires no brushes. She pours paint and scrapes instead. During an epic blizzard, Jackie ran out of canvas. Her drive to create was so strong that it led her to start adding people and other objects through to her paintings. After a visit to the Barnes Foundation, and viewing Amedeo Modigliani’s work, Jackie came home inspired and dissolved her belief she could not paint faces.
Developing an inner life has been her mission through studying and applying spiritual principles, building community, and soul-searching. The gift from this pursuit is that she no longer does any work she does not love. When she paints, Jackie loves herself more than she has ever loved anyone else. Whenever she feels less loving toward herself, she paints to take herself out of it.
Jackie is a model for blending creative and business skills, both of which are required if you are someone who wants to make a living from doing work you love. Bravery is also a hallmark of those who’ve created a career (or side-gig) that feeds their soul. Jackie didn’t wait for the ‘right time’ to unveil her passion project. Instead, she hosted a show of her work in her loft before being sure about how it would be received. Ever the consummate salesperson, Jackie often pulls out her phone to show people her work while she describes her process and techniques to them. She promotes herself and upcoming shows on social media as well and has sold pieces to her hair clients! Jackie has a lot to teach people about getting over their ambivalence toward sharing who they really are and what they love.
Jackie believes that we are all creative and have a purpose. For some people, the medium may be numbers or words while hers is canvas, paint, and magazine images for . Here is her advice for those that want to move toward making a living doing something they love:
- You may need to keep your day job while you create a road to your calling. I currently work 30 hours a week on my art and another 30 hours on my other businesses. I love it all!
- Try stuff! Be open! Because of my history, I thought painting would not be enjoyable for me. I was wrong.
- Every choice is your responsibility. Move away from being a victim to your past experiences!
- Know who you are and own it. For me, I love to create. This has been true since I was a child. I would use my allowance at the hardware store, creating things out of nuts and bolts.
- Do not fall into the trap of competing with anyone. It’s not my business what others are doing. That could stop you from finding your own path, your own way, your genius.
Thanks, Jackie, it’s been my honor to watch your process and to share your inspiring story. If you’d like to learn more about Jackie and her amazing artwork, please visit her here.