If you write or display art, you are familiar with some level of rejection but sometimes it's the particular circumstances that bring it up more strongly. In this case, having been here, done this before, I wanted to try another way than feeling angry, rejected, and spiraling down the rabbit hole of doubting my own competence (Alice, are you there?).
Yes those things arose (and what is anger, but hurt?) I know this one well. And so while these things arose and I squirmed and looked for a cookie, a cup of coffee, something to ease the sting, I did stay with the sticky, heavy sense, just hanging out with it. But I did another thing. I asked myself a couple of questions. Why do I feel this way? What would I be like if I didn't feel hurt?
The answers were interesting, helpful and strangely comforting. I answered that if I felt confident about myself and my work, I would not take this change of heart in the person as a personal affront. I would simply see it as her changing her mind (for some reasons that I could actually agree with). I could see this as a simple truth, like if you catch your jacket on a nail and it tears. You might not be happy but you see what happened. Humans being slightly more complicated than nails, I can never really know all the reasons.
What this reminded me of was the old Dharma lesson, that if we pin our feelings, our responses, our state of mind, our self worth, our lives on outside circumstances, we will be blown about like a dandelion seed head. There will always be some little breeze pushing us around. I was reminded (not in an ego sort of way) but in a "be a pillar" sort of way, to have confidence, to not throw myself into a vat of doubt, because someone had simply changed their mind. I know this spinning off into doubt intimately, I own a very large loom, built specifically for this purpose. In fact if I didn't know better, I'd think I invented this particular loom (rhymes with doom and gloom).
It was a wonderful Dharma lesson and I must say I moved in and out of darkness for the evening, this being a long standing habitual response for me; me, oh lover of approval. But this morning I could pick up my art work, have a chat about why it didn't work for the recipient and give her a hug before I left. (She has her own set of troubles). It felt good and it was all over. No karmic residue, no dark cloud following me around. And this is truly why I practice the Dharma. So I can live a slightly saner life, with a little less suffering.