Can a Struggling Artist Live a Financially Independent Life?

My question has been a burden for me as well as for others around me who are in the same boat. So many of my friends dear to me are going through so much of  the same, and it appears so is much of the world. Dislocated is a great describer, for we are unable to be independent as in self-supporting through some economic means. Living with parents and relying on government assistance is growing tired. I have within the past year graduated from a University with a B.F.A. in painting and drawing, with a minor in art history. I know it is a degree that really cannot propel one into a great financial state, nevertheless it was what I truly desire and I create daily in my studio.  So now I am very frustrated applying for jobs without a response and am going to be fifty five years old.  I stay well, meditate, ask for my desires to be presented and enjoy my being. But I still see the struggle to be independent going unfulfilled. I apply much of what I have learned from CWG, but yet as friends and I feel so forsaken. ~ Thomas

Dear Thomas,

You’re right, this is a challenge a lot of people have, in different contexts; you are certainly not alone in this.  And none of them, including you, is forsaken.  It’s wonderful that you have such desire and passion around your art, and you sound very clear that that is what you wish to spend your time doing.  However, the “story” you are telling is one of lack and limitation.  Before I go any further, Thomas, I hope you receive my words with love and forgive my being so direct, it’s just that this is something that we all do at times, myself included, and it serves us all to be aware of it.

The more you talk about, think about and tell others that your life in terms of career and earning money is a struggle, the more you will continue to experience that.  The more you focus on the lack, on how hard it is to “make it as an artist,” the more of that you will get.  Furthermore, as long as you choose to look at your degree as one that will “not propel you into a great financial state,” that is exactly what you will continue to experience.  You see, Thomas, life proceeds from our idea of it, or to quote one of my favorite lines from CWG, “All you see in your world is your idea about it.”  While you may not be able to completely control what shows up in your life, or your friends’ lives, you can most certainly control how you choose to perceive it and, therefore, experience it.  If I were you, Thomas,  (and by the way I was you but in a different context at one time in my life) here is where I would start:

–          Change your idea about your life.  Decide right now that you can have all that you desire, that it is indeed possible.  Don’t worry about “the how,”  just decide that this is true.

–          Take your focus off your perceived lack and limitation, and all of the frustration that comes with it, and instead focus on gratitude.  Focus on what you do have right now, what you love about your life just as it is, how thankful you are to have such a wonderful support system and that you are still able to create through art.  In fact, I encourage you to make this a daily habit – each day write down at least 10 things you are truly grateful for.  Make your last thoughts of the night before drifting off to sleep and your first thoughts upon waking ones of gratitude and appreciation for what is.

–          Stop giving energy and attention to the story of “I can’t earn good money as an artist.”  Tell a new story, first to yourself and then to others.

–          Instead of waiting to feel happy, secure, and abundant when you do get hired to do what you love to do, be all of that now.  This is a great gift we all possess but not many of us use consciously.  Yet it is entirely possible to create the emotion you think the “having” of something will provide for you, right here and right now.  Choose a desired state of being and commit to “being” that for an entire day.  For example, if you choose “abundant,” focus on thinking abundant thoughts, speaking abundant words, and taking abundant action.  Write the word “abundant” down on a piece of paper and carry it with you all day, or better yet, post it somewhere you can see it.  Create an abundance-inspired piece of art!

You have the power to change your experience of life, Thomas, and no one can take that away from you.  Yet you must be willing to take responsibility for your life, be willing to see it another way, and trust that you deserve everything you’ve ever wanted.

(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching,, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling.  She can be reached at )

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