Finding Your Way Back to Shore

So, here we sit, in a pandemic that has taken normal away from 2020. I had started my journey thinking, “I’ve got this. With no commute, I have more time to create. I can write more, run more, and paint more. Who knows, maybe I will even write that book I have been thinking of doing. It all starts with a good routine, right?”

I began my journey doing writing workshops and yoga, running more, painting more, and felt alive. About three weeks in, I realized I had many doors open but was not managing to get through any of them. That was when my manager at my day job was eliminated, and many more would be deemed unneeded for the upcoming months. Working alongside Human Resources, the amount of loss becomes a bit overwhelming. My super-productivity plans quickly lead to a very familiar foggy feeling that signals the first signs of depression. I knew it would pass, but the circumstances were so much different. I do not usually hang out in denial or anger when there are significant changes in my life; I tend to hover in my demon of depression. Now, do not feel sorry for me because, unlike some, I have tools learned along my life path to deal with these times.

The first one is reminding myself that I will be ok, that this will pass. That sometimes, we are caught in a riptide that does not allow us to get back to shore, but if we swim parallel to the coast, the tide will shift, and the journey back will be with the waves instead of against the current.

Assess if you have too many doors open if you do, it is best to close all, but one so your focus can be regained. If you are accomplishing nothing in your day, focus on even the smallest of accomplishments. It might be as simple as taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or combing your hair. Whatever it is, be proud that you did it, did something, did anything.

Do something just because you want to. I made a cake from scratch just because I felt like it. Not necessarily the best cake, but it was something I had wanted to try to do. I think I will be buying my cakes from the store from now on, but at least now, I know.

Try to set goals to connect with others. A neighbor dropped off some sidewalk chalk one day, so adult me used it to decorate a portion of the driveway as a break from work. I used it to draw a birthday greeting for my father, socially distanced, of course, and even did a fund-raiser for cancer teaching kids how to draw different things with chalk.

Just taking things one day at a time was enough to get me out of the fog back into being of value to the person that matters the most. Who is that person? I am that person.  You are that person. What will you do for yourself today to show you care about that extraordinary person at the heart of each of us?


Raissa Urdiales
Raissa Urdiales
Raissa lived most of her life along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. She currently lives in the quiet city of Tega Cay, South Carolina, just across the border from the very active art community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Raissa has not always considered herself as an artist. She spent a great portion of her adult life staring into computer screens and managing computer system implementations and upgrades in the traditional corporate setting. It was through a chance paint night that she discovered her passion for painting. On her 51st birthday, she treated herself to some acrylic paints and brushes and has not stopped painting since. She balances her passion for creating with her day job as a systems analyst. In the wee hours of the morning, you will find her painting before she immerses herself in the technology that is consuming the world today. Although Raissa does not have formal training in the arts she is very conscious of the benefits it has on the human psyche. She holds a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Psychology where she focused her studies on Organizational Psychology. Through her corporate career, she has learned how to strike a balance between that which provides monetary reward and that which fulfills us as humans. For her, this balance is obtained through painting, writing, and exercise. She is currently a member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists where she exhibits select pieces during the quarterly art shows in and around the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. She has also submitted and is featured regularly in the Light Space & Time online gallery. When she is not painting or working with computer systems, she is writing. She currently has a column with BIZCATALYST 360° named “Artful Being” where she writes on topics both in and out of her corporate life to help others gain balance on what it is to be human.

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  1. Lovely and genuine post, Raissa! The cake-thing made me laugh :). It hits home. Not much of a cake-maker myself but every now and then I try just to get something done if I don’t find the right stuff in the store. Everything’s filled with white sugar…! I truly respect your initiative of the ‘art-chalk-walk’ – so wonderful!
    I can associate how you feel. You create beauty, and sometimes it’s work rather than pure inspiration, just to create and let that outlet remain active.

  2. Raïssa, my treasured friend who is wise, tenderhearted, and creative muse extraordinaire. We have not talked yet you have described with such insight what could be my life. Way too many open doors, but unlike yours mine seem to lead to just more open doors. Fortunately I have escaped any form of depression but I have also escaped any accomplishment of anything. I am proud of you for how you have soldiered on, painted, published a book, achieved at least one project for charity and you have written posts for Biz Catalyst 360. You’re awesome!

  3. Hi Raissa,
    Thank you for this very inspiring story. Happy to read you are doing well now. Reading your story, was one thought going on in my mind: she is a true creator
    I know depression also and understand that every tiny bit of doing can be a great deal. If you can find the courage to do so.

    Creating and doing so many things, what you did with chalk, especially the fund-raising “for cancer teaching kids how to draw different things with chalk” while going through depression, just amazing!!
    Thank you for this great share Raissa.

  4. Ah, but now you are strong, filled with inspiration and creativity. Stories flow like the water that you paint in your art. We are working and excelling on three writing projects and inspiring others everyday. All in all I would you are amazing.